The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

College and Career Readiness Initiatives - Partnerships with the Executive Office of Education and Others

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
October 12, 2012

At the October 23 Board meeting, we are discussing the Task Force Report on College and Career Readiness and the initiatives of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) that are connected to it. DESE also collaborates with and supports related initiatives at the Executive Office of Education (EOE), the Department of Higher Education (DHE), and others. Marybeth Campbell, Director of Education and Workforce Development at the Executive Offices of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development; and Saeyun Lee, Policy Director at EOE, will join us at the Board meeting on October 23 to provide an overview. Three initiatives are highlighted below:

  1. Career Academies Planning Grant Program

    Governor Patrick's Gateway Cities Education Agenda is intended to support local strategies in Gateway Cities to close achievement gaps that disproportionately affect students in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, and English language learners. The FY 13 state budget includes $3.5 million in new funding to support the Gateway Cities Education Agenda, of which $500,000 is competitive grant funding for the Career Academies Planning Grant Program.

    This program will provide high school students with information about career pathways early in their academic careers, and also provide them with engaging and integrated instruction through experiential and work-based learning opportunities. Planning grants during the 2012-13 school year will lead to the operation of Career Academies by September 2013. These Academies will give students opportunities for early career exploration, offer more motivating educational experiences through applied learning both in and out of the classroom, and create multiple pathways to postsecondary education and employment. Grant recipients will also establish Education and Industry Coordinating Councils (EICCs) that are co-chaired by the school superintendent and the chair of the local Workforce Investment Board and include representatives from district high schools and charter schools, public and private institutions of higher education, industry partners, and local/regional employers. Among other responsibilities, the EICCs will create internships and externships for students enrolled in the Career Academies.

  2. Pathways to Prosperity Network

    Since February 2012, EOE has been working with Jobs for the Future and Harvard Graduate School of Education to participate in a multi-state career pathways network known as the Pathways to Prosperity Network. The concept is premised on the 2011 report entitled Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century. The report calls for an intensive effort on the part of employers, educators, and government leaders to build pathways that link work and learning and are aligned with current and projected regional workforce demand.

    The goal of the initiative is to demonstrate in key regional labor markets that many more young people can complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market, and get launched on a career while leaving open the prospect of further education. To accomplish this goal, regional employers are joining forces with educators, workforce development organizations, and policy makers in government to build a system of pathways for high school age students to and through a postsecondary technical education program and on into the labor market. All of the participating states - Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Illinois - are committing to build pathways systems with deep employer engagement, starting from existing strengths and adding components as needed.

  3. Career Pathway Models with Community Colleges

    We are in the early stages of developing three replicable career pathway models in healthcare, information technology, and advanced manufacturing in the Boston, Metro West and Springfield regions respectively. Since April 2012, EOE has been working with Bunker Hill, Mass Bay, and Springfield Technical Community Colleges, the local workforce investment boards in each region, and employers including members of the MA Competitive Partnership, PTC, Bose, Harvard Vanguard, MA Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Western MA Tool and Machine Association to connect with local high schools in the three regions and begin to assess what is needed to create 6-year career pathways, beginning in 9th grade, that result in training students with the technical skills they will need to be employed in high-demand occupations.

We look forward to discussing these and other partnership initiatives in support of college and career readiness with the Board on October 23.