ISBE Grant Opportunity Resource Page: Career Exploration and Career Development Experience Pilot

The Illinois State Board of Education has provided a grant opportunity for schools across Illinois to pilot Career Exploration and Career Development Experiences in SY21-22. The purpose of this grant opportunity is to:
  • Identify and develop innovative resources Illinois needs to promote Career Exploration and Career Development Experiences
    • What are we lacking?
    • Does COVID recovery change our students’ needs?
    • How can we provide more equitable access?
  • Development of a statewide resource bank to be released in June 2022
    • Documentation of best practices, models and lessons learned from pilot schools will be used to develop a resource bank of innovative models, resources and templates that can be adapted and utilized statewide for implementing Career Exploration and Career Development Experiences
The resources provided on this site are a collection of statewide frameworks and resources, as well as resources provided by pilot schools. Bimonthly, pilot sites will be invited to Communities of Practice that will include presentations from pilot sites and provide time for cross-community collaboration.

Contact Information

Karen Lockhart

Principal Consultant
Illinois State Board of Education

Heather Penczak

Policy & Program Manager
Education Systems Center at NIU

How does the State of Illinois define Career Exploration and Career Development Experiences?

Career Exploration

Provides an individual with the ability to engage directly with employers, for the purpose of gaining knowledge of one or more industry sectors or occupations.
Source: Career Pathways Dictionary

Career Development Experience

A supervised work experience relating to an individual’s career area of interest that (i) occurs in a workplace or under authentic working conditions; (ii) is co-developed by an education provider and at least one employer in the relevant field; (iii) provides compensation OR educational credit to the participant (or both); (iv) reinforces foundational professional skills including, at a minimum, those outlined in the Essential Employability Skills framework; (v) includes a Professional Skills Assessment that assesses skill development and is utilized as a participant feedback tool; and (vi) takes place for a minimum of 60 total cumulative hours.

Source: Career Pathways Dictionary

Meeting Recordings and Presentations

On April 26, 2022, grant recipients participated in a Community Showcase, presenting on their pilot experiences including a general overview of their experience, lessons learned and challenges overcome, best practices, and resources. Download the presentation.

A gathering of communities across Illinois who are piloting Career Exploration and Career Development experiences as part of a grant opportunity from the Illinois State Board of Education. This session included an overview of resources and community presentations from Hoopeston Area School District and River Bend School District. Hosted by ISBE and EdSystems, this meeting was held on February 24, 2022.

Download the presentation.

A gathering of communities across Illinois who are piloting Career Exploration and Career Development experiences as part of a grant opportunity from the Illinois State Board of Education. This session included an overview of resources and community presentations from Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401 and Lake County Tech Campus. Hosted by ISBE and EdSystems, this meeting was held on December 9, 2021. Download the presentation deck.

A gathering of communities across Illinois who are piloting a Career Exploration experience as part of a grant opportunity from the Illinois State Board of Education at the elementary/middle school level, to share pilot plans and make connections. Hosted by ISBE and EdSystems, this meeting was held on November 16, 2021.

Download the chat.


The Community of Practice held on October 26, 2021, included:

  • Overview of ISBE Grant Opportunity
  • Community Presentations from Paula Waterman, Career Advisor at Hoffman Estates High School; Lamont Holifield, Executive Director at the Career Preparation Network and Math/CTE Division Leader at Crete Monee High School; Terry Stroh, Director at Northern Kane County Regional Vocational System

Access the presentation deck

On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, schools across Illinois who are piloting a Career Exploration and/or Career Development Experience as a part of a grant opportunity from the Illinois State Board of Education convened. The session includes an introduction to the team at Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University who will be supporting participating schools through professional development and technical assistance opportunities throughout the 2021-2022 school year, and covered the following:

  • Guidance, tools, and state frameworks on Career Exploration and Career Development Experiences
  • Resource banks of innovative community models and materials that are applicable across industry areas, as well as sector-specific models
  • Facilitated breakout rooms for participants to discuss their plans and questions to build connections and form a network of peers


Access the presentation deck

Resources

Statewide Frameworks

Career Exploration Resources

Career Development Experience Resources

Additional Resources

The Illinois Work-Based Learning Innovation Network (I-WIN) is designed to:

  • Highlight and explore innovative models for work-based learning with a current focus on virtual opportunities.
  • Engage in conversations on creating sustainable, high-quality models that provide broader and more equitable access to work-based learning, building social capital for Black and Latinx students.
  • Build connections among communities to offer best practices, learnings, and resources.
  • Identify needs for state policy changes or support systems.
Join the Pilot Listservs

Join one or both listservs with fellow ISBE pilot contacts, to share resources and best practices via email beyond our Communities of Practice. (This is an additional subscription to support cross-community collaboration; you do not need to subscribe to these to receive general communication and invites related to the ISBE pilot).