Detroit Investment Creates an Opportunity for the District-wide Expansion of Career Pathways


Detroit Investment Creates an Opportunity for the District-wide Expansion of Career Pathways

The Linked Learning model – an approach that combines rigorous academic coursework, Career Technical Education (CTE), work-based learning experiences and comprehensive support services – is expanding to 21 high schools by 2021 across Detroit to support students in their college and career goals. What began as a school-by-school turnaround strategy has evolved into a cohesive and strategic approach for the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD). At the direction of a new superintendent, Dr. Nikolai Vitti, each high school will have an established career academy with a focus on a specific career pathway by 2021.
Building off of efforts spearheaded by United Way, this effort is focused on creating career pathways that result in meaningful certifications aligned to high-growth and high-wage careers. United Way is playing an integral role by providing staff support directly to schools and serving on the Workforce Partnership Initiative (WPI) team representing DPSCD, the Mayor’s Office, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, United Way, and the Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD), to undertake a two-year engagement to design a strategy and holistic plan to integrating the Linked Learning model across DPSCD.
A linchpin of the program is the targeted support services that do work on the ground to ensure goals are being achieved. This includes:

  • Pathways Coaches that guide the development of the program of study, support project development and implementation and identify funding streams;
  • Work-based Learning Directors who develop Pathway Advisory Boards, recruit employer partners for work-based learning opportunities; and
  • New District-funded position to lead the transition of the work being completely managed and sustained by the District. 

“We know the surest way to expand access to opportunity is to equip people with the skills needed to compete for well-paying, in-demand jobs that are available today and tomorrow,” said John Carter, President, Michigan Middle Market, Commercial Bank, JPMorgan Chase. “That’s why we are investing to design and implement innovative new approaches to career education that prepare young people to enter the workforce with the skills, experiences, and credentials they need to succeed in good careers in growing industries.”

Linked Learning Detroit is a JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth Innovation Site aiming to improve career pathways for learners. This snapshot is part of a series documenting the progress of the local investments from across the globe that aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. Learn more about the innovations sites here.