(July 27, 2012) - The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) will join a national Alliance for Quality Career Pathways based on national recognition of the WTCS as a leader in adult career pathway development. The 10-state alliance will work in conjunction with Washington D.C.-based Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Joyce and James Irvine Foundations in creating a framework of benchmarks and measures of success for career pathway initiatives.
“The WTCS has developed a number of new educational models that are nimble in responding to the changing education and training needs of both businesses and students,” said WTCS president Dan Clancy, “Our recent success with career pathways for both high school students and returning adults will only benefit from being part of the alliance.”
Career pathways are a coordinated sequence of education and training services that make it simpler for students to advance in education and employment in a given industry or occupational sector. The WTCS has developed career pathway models that focus on both lower-skilled adults and high school students to help them earn the postsecondary credentials they need to successfully compete for higher-skilled jobs. The Regional Industry Skills Education website (www.risepartnership.org) emphasizes career pathways for adults that are the focus of the alliance. Educators and K12 students can visit the WTCS Career Pathways website (www.wicareerpathways.org) to create individualized plans for earning an education credential that will improve their employment outcomes.
“We know from our experience that career pathways help students and are valued by employers,” said Clancy. “Through the alliance, the WTCS can help demonstrate to other states how they can benefit from our success in Wisconsin.” The career pathways model has been gaining popularity but until now, there has been little research on what constitutes a high quality initiative and how to best measure program successes. The alliance will identify benchmarks that signal high-quality systems and programs to help expand the successful use of pathways.
“Accountability and measuring the success of new models to improve student outcomes has always been a high priority for the WTCS,” said S. Mark Tyler, president of the WTCS Board. “Participating in the alliance complements the 2012-15 Strategic Directions adopted by the WTCS Board on July 10, which include delivering high-quality, affordable postsecondary opportunities and ensuring student success.”
Other participating states include Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. “Wisconsin should be proud of its involvement in this effort to increase the number of Americans with postsecondary credentials,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. “I look forward to the results of this multi-state collaboration and am hopeful it will yield yet another route for Wisconsin students to learn the knowledge needed to help solve our state’s skills gap.”
About the system: Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges offer more than 300 programs, awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas. In addition, the system is the major provider of customized training and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. More than 370,000 individuals access the technical colleges for education and training each year. Learn more at www.witechcolleges.org.