Building a Comprehensive System

Career readiness also requires a comprehensive system of supports that deliver learning when it is needed, where it is needed, how it is needed and by a cadre of experts that includes teachers and career professionals. It includes both classroom and workplace experiences, high-quality standards and instructional materials to support learning, a portfolio of assessments that gauge progress using multiple measures along a continuum from being not at all career ready to fully career ready, and finally a policy and funding structure that is aligned across K-12, higher education and business and industry sectors.


No one group or individual can realize change of this magnitude; however, uniting around a common goal is a powerful catalyst for change. Working together there are strategies to ensure our nation’s prosperity and the success of future generations:

Policymakers. Align policy and funding infrastructures that break down long-standing silos between secondary, postsecondary and workforce systems and provide the full spectrum of supports needed to ensure seamless transitions from high school to college and beyond. One step to accomplish this is to clearly define what it means to be career ready in policy and to adopt a set of metrics to measure career readiness that will help to strategically align funding and programs.

High school teachers, leaders and counselors. Engage with business and industry and higher education leaders and faculty to better understand what is expected of high school students and to develop joint goals for college and career readiness. Also, actively engage parents and students in developing long-term goals and strategies around college and career aspirations.

Business and industry. Actively partner with secondary and postsecondary stakeholders to develop shared goals. Also, share expertise and provide engaging opportunities for students and educators to experience hands-on, work-based learning.

Higher education. Engage with secondary educators and business and industry to develop common goals that seek to align systems. Ensure career-readiness knowledge, skills and dispositions are fully integrated into curriculum and instruction, and help students chart a course for career success beyond college.

Parents and students. Expand the goal of “college bound” to include career goals. For students in particular, take responsibility for charting a course that aligns with personal interests and talents. For parents, strive to provide support and guidance in helping students meet education and career goals.

Community. For social service professionals, after school providers, healthcare practitioners, religious leaders and other community leaders, engage with K-12, higher education and business and industry to create common goals that align with the values, beliefs and economic needs of the community. Support the shared goals by aligning community resources and programming.