Skip to content

Career Pathways




Why are Career Pathways important?

Career Pathways provide a way for students, parents, and staff to look at course sequences and instructional programs in relation to students’ career interests. Career Pathways are multi-year programs of academic and technical study that prepare students for continuing education and work. Programs of Study are the sequences of courses that align with preparation for a career area and post-secondary education. Illinois’ Career Cluster Model provides a framework to assist schools in increasing students’ awareness of career options and the education, training, and related experiences that will support pursuit of their career interests. The States’ Career Cluster web site provides a valuable framework in the development Programs of Study for your school in each of the Career Pathways.

What can Career Pathways and Programs of Study do for my students?

We know that today’s students will have multiple jobs and several different careers over their lifetime. Some will be working in careers that have yet to be created due to rapidly changing technologies. Equipping students with the knowledge and skills to develop a career plan as well as acquiring the academic and technical preparation to be successful is critically important. Having a one-page summary of course sequences at the secondary and post-secondary levels that are related to a career interest can help students see an overall view of school and the relationship to attaining their personal goals.

Programs of Study can help students:

  • identify high school courses that align with their career interests
  • articulate high school courses to post-secondary education
  • make informed choices about course selection and extra-curricular activities related to career interests as a part of their educational plan
  • save time and money as they pursue their career interests

Programs of Study also help ensure the curriculum is up-to-date and addressing 21st century employability. Career Cruising provides an online career planning tool aligned with the Programs of Study initiative.

How can Programs of Study be implemented?

Conversation is the best way to engage people in understanding the importance of career and continuing education planning. Developing written Programs of Study for each career cluster can provide a basis for conversation with students, parents, and staff about career planning and the academic and technical education needed to pursue a career interest.

Creating opportunities for all staff to be involved in developing Programs of Study will enhance both academic and Career and Technical Education teachers understanding of the relationship between schooling and the world of work. Connecting curricula, instruction, and 21st century employability skills will result in a more cohesive educational program that connects with students.

Sharing your message in a variety of forms and venues about the importance of career awareness, educational planning, and mastery of academic and technical knowledge with students and parents is key. Create opportunities to communicate about Career Pathways and how planned Programs of Study can connect with real-world careers.

Programs of Study Portal templates are intended to provide an online tool that is customized for your school and connect students, parents, and educators with valuable information as they consider career pathways.

Business advisors and partners provide valuable information about technical and employability skills in additon to academic preparation needed to be successful in today’s workplace. VALEES partners with many businesses and agencies to assist member schools with Career and Technical Education program development.