With so many opportunities on the horizon in Illinois—from forging better connections between programs in career pathways and employers to building out apprenticeships and other work-based learning models—Illinois agencies, advocates, and providers need to work with the same understanding of the terms surrounding workforce and education. For that reason, Illinois approved a statewide definition of Career Pathways this year. Through efforts by 14 statewide partners, this definition was a launching pad for developing a larger group of education and workforce development definitions, all included in the new Career Pathways Dictionary. Over the last year and a half, EdSystems has been driving this work forward through the Workforce Readiness through Apprenticeships and Pathways (WRAP) Committee of the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth, as well as the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Committee of the IL P-20 Council.
The Illinois Career Pathways Dictionary includes terms that fit the following criteria: 1) They pertain to—or deeply impact—multiple programs across state agencies; and 2) they apply to programming with funding from multiple federal agencies (e.g., programs funded by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). This dictionary will be updated as needed and new terms will be added, should they meet these criteria.
Throughout the process, EdSystems has elevated best practices from around Illinois and the U.S., as well as ensured that the definitions are drawn from and aligned to the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act and all relevant State plans (such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and Perkins). This alignment, and shared agreement across Illinois education and workforce agencies of these terms, is a groundbreaking achievement that will only further deepen a shared vision for how to develop college and career pathways that transform outcomes for youth and adults across Illinois.