You are here

Partners Foster a Career Readiness Landscape

Friday, September 16, 2022

Locked armsEnsuring students are college and career ready would not be possible without the partnerships that support these efforts. They are critical and celebrated, particularly as we enter the 2022-23 school year. The network of partnerships created through the regional career pathways work continues to be a bedrock for bringing subject-matter experts together from all of our stakeholder groups, most of which are mentioned below.

  • The Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment (CWI) has been vital in recognizing the value of regional career pathways, including career-based learning, as evidenced in the 2022-2026 strategic plan.The momentum behind academic and career planning, regional career pathways, and dual enrollment is on target with our goals for K-12 education and we are thrilled! This council assists the governor in developing innovative and dynamic approaches to develop Wisconsin's workforce.
  • Our colleagues at the Wisconsin Technical College System serve as our visionary partners to help us create career pathways that not only meet our federal Carl Perkins Act funding requirements, but also align with the larger economic and workforce development system in Wisconsin. Furthermore, technical colleges in every region of the state are leaders in career pathway development and value the collaborations with their local high school CTE programs.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has been a tremendous partner in providing labor market data as the foundation of the robust regional career pathways work happening across the state. They house the state’s youth apprenticeship (YA) program, which serves as an immersive work-based learning opportunity for high school juniors and seniors. The combination of YA and registered apprenticeship is a powerful bridge to careers for recent graduates. Our partnership extends into the CTE Technical Incentive Grants offering incentives for school districts and students who earn credentials in high-skill, in-demand, and labor-shortage sectors. And our partnership wouldn’t be complete without the collaboration with vocational rehabilitation on many aspects of career pathways.
  • The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has offered Fab Lab grants since its inception in 2017 and has awarded over 150 grants in more than 100 school districts. This grant program is a true collaboration and allows recipients to make technology and engineering opportunities available for more students in high school. The partnership developed with regional economic development organizations (REDOs) has been critical in the implementation of regional career pathways and we would not be as successful in our work without the WEDC and the REDOs.
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has been a leader in providing career and technical education teachers across the state with industry experiences through the Business World programming. This partnership has spanned over a decade, and we continue to hear teachers talk about the relevance of their experiences and how those translate to their students in the classroom.
  • The immense collaboration with our DPI colleagues continues with connections to global education, family, youth, and community engagement and a project titled, “Careers in the Classroom.'' The Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Program, out-of-school time programs, and the Migrant Education Program have been strong and willing partners in our continued academic and career planning implementation efforts along the way. This valuable collaboration has been a beacon for the inclusion of all students and supporting them on their career pathway journey. Finally, we are so fortunate to have the partnerships of intermediaries like CESAs helping us implement regional career pathways in order to enhance student engagement and see possibilities for themselves in the future.

We thank all of our colleagues, partners, and stakeholders for your tireless efforts, for listening, and being true partners in our continued efforts to create a career readiness system in Wisconsin!

—Submitted by Sharon Wendt, Director, and Sara Baird, Assistant Director, Career and Technical Education Team, Department of Public Instruction