Kicking Off the Planning and Design Phase

Colleges, states, and the federal government are increasingly focused on career pathway approaches as a strategy for helping more adults acquire marketable skills and credentials. Integrated pathway models are one approach to creating a better-aligned system for providing education and training. 

Creating integrated pathways is complex and challenging--it requires systems change and culture shift. But evidence shows that integrated models can help more underprepared learners get the education and training they need to access family-sustaining careers. 

This section of the Field Guide will help you get started with the process of developing integrated pathways. By taking the time to organize your team, engage stakeholders, and determine your goals and strategy, you’ll be better positioned to tackle the challenges of designing and implementing your pathway model. 

How to Use this Field Guide

The information and resources in the Accelerating Opportunity Field Guide are applicable to both states and colleges seeking to connect Adult Basic Education with career/technical pathways.  

State audiences: Community college system offices, state Adult Basic Education leaders, state agencies (e.g., Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services), economic development organizations, other stakeholders
College audiences: College leaders, trustees, faculty, administrative staff, ABE programs working with community college partners, community-based organizations, other stakeholders


Lessons from Accelerating Opportunity

  • Careful attention to design can catalyze rapid change when work begins on the ground.
  • Structure during the design period is critical.
  • Pathway models must be firm but flexible.
  • Stakeholder engagement is critical.
  • It's essential to communicate clearly.
  • You have to think big.

For more lessons from Accelerating Opportunity's design phase, see this JFF blog post.