Definition of Career Pathways

While the term Career Pathways can have different meanings, in this context, a career pathway is “a series of connected education and training programs, work experiences, and student support services that enable individuals to secure a job or advance in a demand industry or occupation.”

More specifically, it’s referencing CO HB15-1274 which concerns “the creation of Career Pathways for students for critical occupations in growing industries,” and leverages the Talent Pipeline Report for identifying top jobs (defined as having above average growth rates, high annual openings, and offer a living wage).

To date, Career Pathways have been developed for Advanced Manufacturing (via HB13-1165 and TAACCCT/CHAMP Grant) and Information Technology (IT) (via HB15-1274). The two career pathways under development for Academic Year (AY) 16-17 are Healthcare and Construction & Skilled Trades.

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RESOURCES : Career Pathways for Students & Job Seekers

Careers in Colorado, website, is the free, state-hosted resource for Career Pathways work, and currently contains industry information in Advanced Manufacturing, IT, Healthcare, and Construction & Skilled Trades. The interactive Career Pathways tool launched for the IT industry in March, 2017.

RESOURCES : For Education, Workforce, & Industry

Sector Partnerships and Career Pathway Systems are helping to grow Colorado’s Talent Pipeline. A sector partnership is an industry specific regional partnership led by business in partnership with economic development, education, and workforce development. A career pathway system aligns public partners and engages them in a continuous conversation that is led by industry to ensure that job-seekers and students move seamlessly through and among support programs, educational institutions, training opportunities, and work-based experiences.

For more details and toolkits, visit the Colorado Workforce Development Council’s resources at

RESOURCES : Quick List

Additional Definitions / Uses of the Term Career Pathways:

Within CTE, a Career Pathway represents a grouping of occupations within a cluster that share a base level of common knowledge and skill. Nationally, sample Career Pathways Plans of Study were developed for each of the 79 pathways corresponding to the national 16 Career Clusters.

A career pathway, sometimes also referred to as a Guided Pathway, or used synonymously with Program of Study, is also a coherent sequence of rigorous academic and career courses that begins in high school and leads to an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree and beyond, and/or an industry-recognized certificate or license. Career pathways are developed, implemented, and maintained by partnerships involving educators, community leaders, and employers.

In Adult Career Pathways also consists of the guidance, remediation, curricula, and other support elements required to enable career-limited adults to enter the workforce and progress in rewarding careers.

The Time is Now from CO Workforce Development Council on Vimeo.

Next Gen Sector Partnerships from Next Gen Sector Partnerships on Vimeo.