Supporting career advancement, change

Successfully building career pathways requires active employer partnerships and a comprehensive, cross-functional approach within the technical colleges. The development, promotion and delivery of career pathways requires leadership at the top and the involvement of experts in curriculum design, instruction, student services, enrollment, financial aid, marketing and other areas.

Because these pathways are linked to education on "both sides," dynamic collaboration with state and local K-12 and four-year partners is also required.

With initial funding through the Joyce Foundation's Shifting Gears initiative, Wisconsin embarked on a major initiative to link education and job training with employer needs in critical industry sectors. Through the "RISE" project, WTCS, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, local workforce boards and employer partners have led a statewide effort to align workforce development efforts behind career pathways.

This effort has earned Wisconsin national recognition as a leader in the development of adult career pathways, including “career pathway bridges,” which provide an on-ramp to occupational education for basic education students and English Language Learners.

Since 2010, career pathways have been implemented for jobs in IT Network Systems, Industrial Maintenance, Welding, Machining, Culinary Management, and Mechanical Design, with many more in development. In addition, more than 40 career pathway bridges have been developed leading to jobs in welding, metal fabrication, and nursing.

To see an example of the type of pathways available, please visit the Northcentral Technical College programs page.