National College and Career Pathways Initiative Launch Expands to 14 States with a New Investment from Salesforce


National College and Career Pathways Initiative Launch Expands to 14 States with a New Investment from Salesforce

Launch: Equitable & Accelerated Pathways for all welcomes site teams from Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia with the support of Salesforce.

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND – (May 8, 2024) Advance CTE, Education Strategy Group (ESG), ExcelinEd, Jobs for the Future (JFF), and New America are excited to announce the expansion of Launch: Equitable & Accelerated Pathways for All with the addition of three teams from Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia thanks to the generous support of a new initiative funder, Salesforce. The new investment will also help extend Launch into a third year, through fall 2025.

“Salesforce is excited to be part of building more pathways to success for students, especially those furthest from success,“ said Emily Anthony, Senior Director, Philanthropy, Salesforce. “The Launch initiative showcases the power of partnerships – between K-12 and higher education institutions, between the education sector and industry, and between business and government. Together, we’re creating systemic change to benefit students for years to come.”

Cross-sector partnership and collaboration have been at the core of Launch initiative activities and efforts over the last year. The purpose of Launch is to build the capacity of state and local sites to lead equitable, sustainable systems for career pathways. To that end, Launch creates dedicated time, space, and support for local and state leaders to reimagine policy, partnerships, and systems that influence how students transition from high school to college and careers. By including leaders across education, government, and workforce, the Launch Initiative generates opportunities for new collaboration so that state and local systems meet the needs of the learners and workers they serve.

“We are eager to collaborate, learn, and contribute to this national effort,” said Maryland’s State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carey M. Wright. “The Launch initiative aligns perfectly with our goals under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and will help make Maryland a model for transformative education and workforce development.”

Site teams from Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia will join the seven existing Impact Cohort teams from Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, each including a mix of state, regional, and local leaders who have come together to evaluate, strengthen, and scale their current college and career pathways.

“Team Massachusetts is proud to join the Launch initiative and incredibly optimistic about what’s possible as a result,” said Erika Giampietro, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College. “Our students, our communities, and our economy will benefit greatly from the support of the Launch community as we refine and deepen our college and career pathways in Massachusetts.”

Each site has been selected because of their foundational work in creating pathways and enabling conditions that have built connections between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers. The sites are committed to ensuring every learner will earn the credentials needed for living wage jobs and will work towards this outcome by focusing on four key priority areas: alignment of high-quality pathways to credentials of value; seamless transitions across secondary, two- and four-year institutions; learner-centered supports and advising; and next-generation work-based learning experiences.

“Participating in the Launch initiative will support [our state’s ability to establish] a unified process and structure to assess and develop opportunities for every learner in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Lisa Coons, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Virginia Department of Education. “Launch is aligned to our vision and will help foster the development of many new pathways. Launch is also bringing entities together that have not traditionally been at the same table which, together, are attempting to create a common language, definition, and platform for credentials for postsecondary life for all students.”

The site teams for the three new participating states include:

  • Maryland: Maryland State Department of Education, Baltimore City Public Schools, Frederick County Public Schools, Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Montgomery County Public Schools, and Talbot County Public Schools.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts Alliance for Early College (MA4EC), Lawrence Public Schools, Lynn Public Schools, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, North Shore Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Salem Public Schools, Smith Family Foundation, Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP), and Springfield Technical Community College.
  • Virginia: Virginia Department of Education, Roanoke County Public Schools, Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium and Foundation, Stafford County Public Schools, Suffolk Public Schools, Virginia Office of the Governor, and Virginia Works.

To view the full list of states and site teams participating in the Impact Cohort, please visit

Through the work of the Impact Cohort to evaluate and improve existing efforts and the Innovation Cohort to develop and pilot innovative new solutions, Launch will create a comprehensive approach to developing college and career pathways that drive the entire nation forward. To learn more about the Innovation Cohort, please visit

Salesforce joins the coalition of Launch initiative funders without whom this work would not be possible: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation, Joyce Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

For more information please visit and follow Launch Pathways on LinkedIn.

About Launch

Launch: Equitable & Accelerated Pathways for All is a national college and career pathways initiative that strives for every learner to have access to and succeed in high-quality and equitable pathways. Launch is led by a partnership of five national organizations – Advance CTE, Education Strategy Group, ExcelinEd, Jobs for the Future (JFF), and New America – with the generous support of a coalition of philanthropic funders: the Annie E. Casey FoundationBill & Melinda Gates FoundationBloomberg PhilanthropiesCarnegie Corporation, the Joyce FoundationSalesforce, and Walton Family Foundation.

About Salesforce

Salesforce empowers companies of every size and industry to connect with their customers through the power of data + AI + CRM + trust. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit


Media Contact: Jodi Langellotti, [email protected]