Scaling Delaware’s Career Pathways
Delaware continues to be a national leader in building pathways that help students discover their passion and interests while getting a jump-start on college and career. There was a time when just graduating high school was the goal. Then the focus was myopically on only college access. Today, there’s a recognition that an education beyond high school is a gateway to a good career, but there’s also an awareness that education doesn’t need to be a four-year degree. Moreover, in a world dominated by screens and AI, students having real-life experiences in the workplace are more important than ever to helping them figure out who they want to be.
The First State is acting on that knowledge. In 2014, the career pathways effort started with 27 students, and today, over 30,000, or about 75 percent of our high school students, have access to college courses and meaningful work-based learning experiences while still in high school. That’s far greater scale than any state in the country. This growth was the subject of recent case studies by Jobs for the Future and Bellwether Education Partners.
With that in mind, I’m excited to highlight a few accomplishments from the past year that show how our state is continuing to strengthen those efforts.
Here is an overview of some of the progress in the past 12 months. Delaware partners…
- Realized we needed to start earlier, so they launched an innovative career exploration pilot in 10 middle schools across the state impacting over 5,500 students
- Wanted to accelerate the apprenticeship process, so aligned all six vo-tech high schools and adult education programs to provide dual enrollment and meaningful credits in high-growth sectors for over 900 students
- Saw an opportunity to strengthen the tech sector and created a nationally recognized, earn-and-learn summer internship model for high school students interested in tech careers through the new Tech Council of Delaware
- Wanted to increase access to hands-on experiences, so supported over 1,700 high school students, 500+ college students, and 100+ employers in work-based learning experiences through Delaware Technical Community College’s Office of Work-Based Learning
- Responding to the rapidly changing global economy, the Delaware Workforce Development Board released a new three-year strategic plan focused on investing in high-skill, high-wage jobs
As we continue to move forward, I am excited to bring learnings from across the nation and around the world to help us think about the next phases of innovation. We need all your help in continuing to blur the lines across our system so that all students can more seamlessly connect their education to good careers.