Pathways to Prosperity

The Pathways to Prosperity Network, a collaboration of states, Jobs for the Future, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, seeks to ensure that many more youth complete high school and attain a postsecondary credential with currency in the labor market. Each participating state is engaging educators and employers in building a system of grades 9-14 career pathways, combining high school and community college. Such pathways are intended to launch young people into initial careers, while leaving open the prospect of further education. State and regional stakeholders together lead the work in each Pathways to Prosperity state, focusing initially on two or three regional labor markets. The long-term goal is to create statewide systems of career pathways that serve most students. Key sectors of the economy identified for pathways building across the states include information technology, health care, and advanced manufacturing.
 
The network emerged as a result of the interest generated by the Harvard Graduate School of Education 2011 report, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century. According to the report, roughly half of all young Americans arrive in their mid-twenties without the skills or labor market credentials essential for success in today’s increasingly demanding economy. A reason is the nation’s overreliance on a single four-year college pathway to help young people make the transition from high school to working life. The report calls for an intensive effort from employers, educators, and government and nonprofit leaders to build pathways that link work and learning and are aligned with labor market demand. From this call to action, the state Pathways to Prosperity Network was formed. Today the Network includes Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and regions of Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  
Pathways Tennessee

In June 2012, Tennessee joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network - a six state consortium with the common goal of ensuring more youth complete high school and attain a postsecondary credential with strong currency in today’s labor market. This sought-after membership came in response to the Pathways to Prosperity report, which was published in February 2011 by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The Tennessee state network (Pathways Tennessee) was formed in December 2012 with the creation of the State Planning & Implementation Team and the identification of two pilot regions in Tennessee (Upper Cumberland and Southeast).

The mission of Pathways Tennessee is to provide Tennessee students rigorous academic/career pathways, which are linked to economic and labor market needs and trends. These pathways must: (1) have multiple entry and exit points in education, (2) transition seamlessly from secondary to postsecondary, allowing for college credit and industry certifications in high school, and (3) encourage/support active industry involvement in student learning. Pathways Tennessee is a statewide initiative and is sustained through regional leadership with various levels of support through cross agency collaborations at the state level.

Upper Cumberland Pathways to Prosperity

The overall regional goal is to improve the education attainment level and job readiness of our future workforce by enhanced training, education, skill development, and providing work based learning opportunities to match the needs of targeted industries and existing industry. This includes but is not limited to:

 
  • Improving the quality of life in the Upper Cumberland by having an industry base which provides economic opportunity for its citizens.
  • Assuring that existing regional industry base has the available talent pool to meet its needs for sustaining and growing its activities while remaining in the Upper Cumberland Region
  • Demonstrating the ability to meet the needs of employers as a recruiting tool for new industry entering the Upper Cumberland Region.
  • Provide academic/career exploration for students through academic career coach positions beginning with 7th grade students through post-secondary education, increasing student access each year.
  • Engage regional stakeholders in advancing TN pathways mission and vision in the Upper Cumberland Region, ensuring alignment to local priorities and strategies.
  • Conduct an annual assessment of regional labor force needs and determine requirements for new pathways creation based on assessments.
  • Establish parental and community engagement methodologies designed to inform and create a culture of understanding and support of the pathways work.
  • Partner with state leadership team to advance the work and to maintain communication with statewide pathways strategies.
Selection of Highlands Pathways
Highlands Workforce Development and Education Committee reviewed TN Department of Labor and Workforce statistics and feedback obtained from area employers prior to identifying pathways for implementation in secondary and post-secondary education. The original 4 Highlands Counties of Jackson Overton, Putnam County and White implemented Health Science and Advanced Manufacturing to middle and high school students in the 2013-14 school year. Clay and Warren County Schools joined the Pathways work in July 2015 and have both implemented Advanced Manufacturing and Health Science in their school districts.
 
Exposure to Pathways begins in middle school through post-secondary education and job placement. Students are introduced to Pathways by Academic Career Coaches in each school district in the 6 counties noted above.
 
Pre-Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Pathways
  • An employer sub-committee and an education sub-committee were established to address Pathways to Prosperity goals, to provide input, to ensure accuracy of information and timely completion of all deliverables.
  • The employer sub-group developed an inventory matrix to document jobs and skills required by employers in the region. The matrix has been a tool for usage by the full committee for various purposes including but not limited to assessment of skill gaps, curricula development, academic and career coaching of students.
  • A Postsecondary Education sub-group was formed to establish Pre-Engineering articulation agreements between Nashville State Community College and Tennessee Tech University. 
  • A Postsecondary Education sub-group has been addressing action steps to create transfer agreements between the TN College of Applied Technology and Community Colleges in the region.
  • Career Exploration Modules were developed in collaboration with the State Department of Education and are introduced to 7th grade students each school year. The modules introduce students to the Pre-Engineering/Advanced Manufacturing and provide hands on activities for students to explore this career.
  • Tasks written by area employers and aligned to TN State Standards are taught to 8th grade students in all content areas. Videos have been produced that introduce the tasks to students.
 
Health Science Pathways
  • The Health Science Committee formed employer and education sub-committees to capture the essential elements for a true assessment of assets, areas of opportunity and action steps to create this seamless pathway.
  • Sub-Committees work independently of each other and report out during bi-monthly committee meetings. Sub-committees review their work with the other sub-committee for input.  Employer sub-committee captured the employer job types, skills, education level and annual job openings by job type and gaps.  Education sub-committee reviewed and formed decisions regarding ways to address gaps based on employer data.
  • Meeting the needs of employers, collaborating with school districts and post-secondary education, offering career exposure, awareness and immersion for students and informing parents are vital aspects of this work and are at the core of the this body of work that will progress each year.
  • A Postsecondary Education sub-group was formed to establish an RN Associates Degree at Volunteer State at Livingston to create a seamless nursing pathway from TCAT to Vol State to TTU.  
  • Career Exploration Modules were developed in collaboration with the State Department of Education and are introduced to 7th grade students each school year. The modules introduce students to Health Science careers and provide hands on activities for students to explore this career.
  • Tasks written by area employers and aligned to TN State Standards are taught to 8th grade students in all content areas. Videos have been produced that introduce the tasks to students.
 
Information Technologies Pathway