Designing and Delivering Career Pathways at Community Colleges: A Practice Guide for Educators

Community colleges are employing a number of strategies to prepare students for employment in high-growth, in-demand industries. Many of these strategies are found within CTE programs, and they are also present in broader workforce development activities and supports offered by community colleges. This practice guide by the What Works Clearninghouse describes community college–based CTE interventions and provides five specific recommendations for supporting occupational skills training through career pathways:

  1. Intentionally design and structure career pathways
  2. Deliver contextualized or integrated basic skills instruction
  3. Offer flexible instructional delivery schedules and models 
  4. Provide coordinated comprehensive student supports
  5. Develop and continuously leverage partnerships

This resource also provides sample documents, checklists and planning tools to help users implement the recommendations. Administrators, staff, and faculty at community colleges who are responsible for overseeing, designing and/or implementing CTE initiatives will find this practice guide useful.

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March 2021