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Career Pathway Quality and Rigor
The New Skills for Youth states addressed career pathway quality and rigor by developing statewide pathway models and policies and ensuring equitable access to pathway components that enhance students’ college and career readiness.
New Skills for Youth states made equity in participation and completion a component of statewide pathway initiatives and launched pilot programs to help local sites identify and address equity gaps.
State Activities
Identified State-Level Equity Priorities
Seven states prioritized addressing equity gaps related to race/ethnicity, school location (rural/urban), and/or disability status, and some developed tools, such as a statewide map for identifying gaps and barriers, to inform strategies. Two states piloted state-level initiatives serving students with disabilities; one directed additional funds to career counseling in low-resource areas, and the other sought to expand dual enrollment programs for underrepresented groups.
Included Equity in Pathway Criteria
Three states required districts to include plans to enhance equity in their documentation for state-level career pathway funding, recognition, and approval.
Supported Local Equity Initiatives
Four states provided data, technical assistance, and training to help identify and address inequities at the district level, and two states offered district grant programs for equity initiatives.
Local Innovations
Capital, Laurel, and Appoquinimink School Districts, Delaware
During New Skills for Youth, Delaware launched the PIPEline to Career Success project in partnership with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE). In 2018-19, three pilot school districts and their partners developed and implemented plans to address equity gaps affecting students with disabilities. Before the pilot, NAPE and the project partners published a comprehensive literature review on the educational barriers encountered by students with disabilities. This resource informed the project’s work with districts.
Root Cause Analysis
To customize strategies to district needs, the state Vocational Rehabilitation agency and the districts conducted root cause analyses to understand factors affecting the career success of students with disabilities.
Equity-Related Policies and Practices
School districts addressed root causes of inequities through accommodations, communications, expert support, professional development, and efforts to promote inclusivity.
Equity Data Analysis
District data suggest that all three participating districts have improved outcomes for students with disabilities, including career pathway completion; work-based learning experiences culminating in a credential; credential attainment; and progress toward graduation.