Building Strong Systems


While career pathways programs take multiple forms, the most effective and sustainable pathways operate within systems that address six core elements.

These elements were identified by CLASP based on review of systemic career pathways efforts and legislation. See how the elements connect to the work of these systems.


Focusing on an industry with in demand jobs, engaging employers based on occupational targets, producing skills that are portable (supporting occupational mobility).

Guiding questions: What workforce need in the regional/state economy will the career pathway address? How will the skills created be portable and relevant over time?


Building the pathway for a defined population of participants; addressing starting skills levels, featuring course and credential sequencing, providing multiple entry and exit points as well as alignment across settings, and awarding credentials that stack (supporting educational and economic mobility).  

Guiding questions: Who is the career pathway intended to serve and how will it do so? How is the pathway designed from a participant perspective? How do the educational components connect as participants move between settings and stages?


Forming and maintaining collaborations based on shared goals and aligned responsibilities, with defined leadership, governance, and funding.

Guiding questions: Who comes together to create, implement, and sustain the career pathway? What resources and responsibilities does each player bring? How do partners find common language as well as articulate and pursue shared goals, while meeting their individual accountabilities?


Using participant-focused, evidence-based practices that incorporate contextualized instruction, concurrent remediation, dual enrollment, competency-based education, work-based learning, integrated education, and training.

Guiding questions: What instructional strategies will be used to produce results from the career pathway? How does the pathway make use of academic and occupational skill building and workbased learning approaches?


Providing participants with services based on individual assessment of needs and including active advising, career navigation, case coordination, and referrals to specialized suppliers.

Guiding questions: How does the career pathway address the holistic needs of participants to enhance their success? How is equity considered in providing differentiated supports for individual participants?


Tracking progress through shared use of data, selection of metrics, and commitment to formative and summative assessment to inform continuous improvement.

Guiding questions: How is success defined for the career pathway? How is data assembled to assess success? What is the approach to continuous improvement?