Over the past few years, Hans Meeder, president of NC3T, has been blogging on pathways-related issues on this site under the name Pathways Sherpa. If you’ve been a regular visitor to this space, you saw the Pathways Sherpa blog go on summer vacation, followed by today’s relaunch under a new name, CCL InSight.
Simply put, after a lot of thinking and a lot of internal and external conversations, we realized that we needed to speak more broadly than we had been. College and career pathways are an excellent strategy, one which time and again make an outsized impact on the students, staff, and industry and community partners who launch and manage them. But we realized that, while pathways are an ideal, they aren’t always a fit 100% of the time in 100% of circumstances. Sometimes there are other pressing challenges to be addressed; sometimes not all the pieces are in place; and sometimes schools and their communities need a more tangible, shorter-term starting point in order to prove the concept before investing more fully in such a model.
That’s why we’ve decided to start speaking more broadly about the importance of Career Connected Learning (the CCL in CCL Insight). Because any steps that educators at all levels can take in this direction are positive ones. Maybe you can’t launch a wall-to-wall pathways model – but engaging employers as speakers, mentors, and advisory board members still offers a great deal of value and relevance. Maybe you can’t start a career academy – but setting up site visits, job shadows, or internship can make a tremendous difference in the lives of students. Whatever steps you can take to connect learning to the real world, especially the world of work, can immediately improve the learning dynamic, improving engagement, student outcomes, and community support for your students, staff, and school.
Going forward, both Hans and I will be writing regularly about various aspects of Career Connected Learning, touching on theory, major developments (Perkins is top of our list to cover!), resources, and hands-on strategies. We hope you’ll join us as we go forward; the most important voice in this conversation belongs to those doing this important work in school and businesses across the country.
Brett Pawlowski is Executive Vice President of NC3T, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (www.nc3t.com). NC3T provides planning, coaching, technical assistance and tools to help community-based leadership teams plan and implement their college-career pathway systems and strengthen employer connections with education.