Chicagoland Career Pathways Helps More than 5,000 Users in First Year
Drawing on the expertise of stakeholders across the city ‒ including funders like CME Group Foundation, youth-serving organizations like Chicago Public Schools, Community Colleges of Chicago, program providers, state organizations, and many other groups ‒ Chicagoland Career Pathways was launched in January 2020 to address the information and access gap surrounding training programs that do not require a Bachelor’s degree as an on-ramp to employment.
Much like college research platforms such as Naviance and College Greenlight, young people, their guides (including parents, counselors, teachers, and mentors), job seekers, and career changers can search this free and open directory to ﬁnd programs that align with their interests, talents, and needs. Chicagoland Career Pathways does not seek to steer young people away from college; in fact, a bachelor’s degree may very well be part of their plan. Educating young people about various opportunities allows them to explore multiple pathways to their goals. It allows people who have opted out of education or the workforce to opt back in. Connecting people looking for education and employment opportunities to training programs that meet employer demand will help close the skills, employment, and income gaps that are pervasive in the Chicagoland area and create a much more equitable post-secondary experience.
Chicagoland Career Pathways has seen a great deal of success in its ﬁrst year. The directory now boasts 190 programs provided by over 100 diﬀerent providers in the Chicagoland area. Of the programs currently active on the site, approximately 56% are self-identiﬁed as free of cost and 28% are paid opportunities ‒ lowering inhibitory barriers to participation. Three-quarters of active programs oﬀer credentials to participants upon completion, unlocking the door to career advancement through innovative educational models.
Chicagoland Career Pathways has already served over 5,000 users, and with their powerful search tools, monthly Hot Jobs list, and deepening community engagement, they expect that number to grow.