Skip to main content


Career Pathways Community Members,

In anticipation of our upcoming conversation with members Esther Prins, Carol Clymer, and Becky Raymond, on the final report of the CAREER PATHWAYS PROGRAMMING FOR ADULT LEARNERS IN CHICAGO, HOUSTON, AND MIAMI, I want to share a preview of the report, and highlight what we will be discussing on January 29th and 30th, 2019.   

This report is a comprehensive documentation of a survey of adult education providers, including focus groups, and case studies of six program sites.  The survey was designed to identify the key features of adult career pathways, and the learner outcome measures used across cities, and sites, based on the following definition from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Progressive levels of basic skills and post-secondary education, training, and supportive services in specific sections or cross-sector occupations in a way that optimizes the progress and success of individuals - including those with limited education, English skills, and/or work experience - in securing marketable credentials, family-supporting employment, and further education and employment opportunities.

The majority of survey respondents were from Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), which collectively served a much smaller percentage of the total learner enrollment than did the surveyed post-secondary institutions, libraries, and school district programs.

Below are some statistics from the research, which will be discussed in greater depth during our discussion at the end of January.

  • According to the CLASP definition, 83% of survey respondents said they offer career pathways, and 11% said that they are developing pathways.

  • The most common types of career pathways classes/services were ESL (84%), employability/work readiness (76%), and transition to post-secondary education classes (75%).

  • Learners were majority female (59%), foreign born (67%), and experienced economic vulnerabilities and limited formal education.

  • Education, child and family services (44%) were the most common occupational sector, followed by health and medical terminology (38%) and information technology (30%).

  • Contextualized learning was the most common instructional approach (81%), followed by concurrent enrollment in vocational skills programs (50%).

  • Although there were no common outcome measures within or across cities, 85% of survey respondents measured educational gains on standardized tests.

  • The most common funding sources coming from state government (57%), federal government (53%), and private foundations (51%).  

  • 36% of survey respondents said that there were resources for coordination and planning across organizations in their city.  

How do these results connect with your program or your perceptions of career pathways programs in urban areas?  We invite you to review the full text of the report in advance of our discussion, and  the recent COABE article as well.  Come with questions about this important survey of the state of urban, career pathways programs in the U.S.  We look forward to you joining us on January 29th and 30th!

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator