At EdSystems, we’re focused on helping communities around the State make better connections between education and employment, efforts that help young people achieve high-quality outcomes in college and career.
As we mentioned in a previous blog in this series on College and Career Pathway Endorsements as a crucial part of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act, there is a real knowledge disconnect between employers and educators on what skills young people should have to be ready for college and career. College and Career Pathway Endorsements are a mechanism to help address that disconnect, to validate the hard work that students do to prepare for life after high school. These Endorsements require deep implementation planning and support at the community level, to make sure that there is local buy-in of postsecondary institutions and employers. To support the implementation of College and Career Pathway Endorsements at the local level, EdSystems, on behalf of the Illinois 60 by 25 Network, and with generous support from both the Illinois Department of Employment Security and The Joyce Foundation, has awarded funding over the past year to sixteen 60 by 25 Network Leadership Communities and soon-to-be Leadership Communities to support the development of a plan and initial implementation of the coursework and system supports for at least two College and Career Pathway Endorsements aligned to industry sectors that have local buy-in and support. The planning will include organizing or expanding at least one professional learning activity for students, such as a career expo or internship program. A web-based tool has also been developed for communities to document the endorsements that they award students.
School districts can apply to the Illinois State Board of Education to offer College and Career Pathway Endorsements during the 18-19 school year and can start to award them to the graduating class of 2020, which is exciting news! This effort is occurring in 93 high schools across the state, and that number is sure to increase since the Illinois State Board of Education has incorporated the College and Career Pathway Endorsement into its Every Student Succeeds Act, as a way for school districts to substantially meet all the Indicator’s requirements. Three cheers for making connections!