In 2016-17, EdSystems conducted a landscape scan of career pathway programs in the Chicagoland region on behalf of the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance (CWFA) to address the limited information available to young people on postsecondary education and workforce training options. As summarized in this Executive Summary, EdSystems found that while potential trainees and guides alike desire more information on postsecondary options, administrative data currently available across platforms suffer from inconsistent taxonomy; provide insufficient information to assess match and fit; and are disorganized, inconsistent, and often out-of-date.
Since completing that scan, EdSystems has been driving work forward with State agency partners across education and workforce to identify and address key information gaps systematically. EdSystems led a multi-year interagency process to define the common elements the State’s administrative data systems should collect to better inform young people and adult of career pathway options. In Spring 2019, EdSystems drafted the State’s successful application for a Department of Labor Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant to implement administrative data system improvements and understanding of program outcomes through the “Pro Path Illinois” project. EdSystems continues to play a major leadership role in the Common Program Information (CPI) component of Pro Path Illinois, which will enhance and align data captured across state administrative systems for sub-associate credential programs to capture the information that is most important for career pathway decision-making. Further, the project will empower under- and unemployed youth and adults with comprehensive and actionable information on programs to make optimal decisions about their educational and career pathways, as well as with improved guidance to navigate the information and decision-making process.