Illinois’ College and Career Pathway Endorsements (CCPE) system is a cornerstone strategy of the Postsecondary & Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act to increase the number of Illinois high school graduates prepared for postsecondary education and future careers. To earn an Endorsement on a high school diploma and transcript, a student must complete an individualized learning plan, engage in a career-focused instructional sequence (including early college credit), participate in work-based learning, and demonstrate readiness for college-level reading and math. Students earning the Endorsement will develop technical and essential employability competencies, earn in-demand credentials, and be prepared to launch rewarding careers.
Over the past several years, EdSystems and a national nonprofit, JFF, have worked with State agencies, employers, and other public and private stakeholders to identify essential employability and technical competencies for College and Career Pathway Endorsement areas.
Since 2017, EdSystems has sought out districts willing to implement the State’s College and Career Pathway Endorsement (CCPE). As a result of our work, 48 school districts are now fully authorized to offer the CCPE. For the Class of 2022, 16 districts awarded the endorsement to 596 graduates – nearly 14 times as many as the 47 endorsements awarded in the Class of 2021. Due to HB3296, which passed in 2022, more school districts are expected to implement CCPE in the coming years. EdSystems offers supports to school districts looking to partner with their local career centers, colleges, and employers for successful scaling of the CCPE.
EdSystems partnered with Southern Illinois University’s Center for Workforce Development to develop a web-based tool that communities are using to submit information on their local systems to ISBE per the PWR Act’s requirements. This tool requires communities to consider and document each aspect of their Endorsement system, and also provides an important inventory of pathways implementation across the State.
Creating Currency for the College and Career Pathway Endorsement
A growing number of institutions are offering incentives to students who have earned a CCPE, to help attract high school students into the secondary to postsecondary pathways and increase college completion rates for these students.
- In December 2020, EdSystems announced a partnership with Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois, which is automatically advancing any applicants who have earned or are on track to earn the CCPE to the final stage of the application process. Golden Apple Scholars are students pursuing a career in teaching and can earn up to $23,000 towards their college degree and receive significant support in initial teaching placements. For the high school class of 2022, more than a dozen CCPE earners became Golden Apple Scholars as college freshmen.
- HB2170, also known as the Education Omnibus bill, includes an update to the Illinois’ Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship to fund students graduating with any of the pathway endorsements (Article 120). CCPE students are eligible to receive the scholarship as early as freshman year and for a longer period than traditional students, which can significantly reduce the total cost of college completion.
- In March 2021, Chicago State University announced students who earn the CCPE in Education and apply for the Diverse Scholars in Education Scholarship or Call Me Mister Program are automatically advanced as finalists. Download student fact sheet.
- Graduates of Ridgewood High School, the first school in Illinois to award a CCPE to its graduates, are already benefiting from earning an endorsement, including job offers. Read more.
- In the 2019–2020 school year, Grayslake D127 became a pilot for the Illinois State Career Pathway Endorsement Process. Thanks to the support of a local philanthropist, Grayslake 127 students who complete the CCPE will receive $1,000 each via the “I Believe In You” Scholarship.
- Community College Currency: In Summer of 2022, Education Systems launched a network of eight community colleges that are offering unique and specific currency for CCPE earners in various industry field outside of education. The specific benefit to students will be published by Summer 2023 and include the following institutions: Southwestern Illinois College, Joliet Junior College, Blackhawk College, Parkland College, Shawnee Community College, Sauk Valley Community College, Kaskaskia College, and Illinois Valley Community College.