Connections: The newsletter of the National Career Pathways Network

Volume 29, No. 2: Preparing Students and Adults for Success in Work and Life

Welcome to Volume 29, no. 2, of Connections, the newsletter of the National Career Pathways Network. Don't miss the 2019 NCPN Conference at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, October 11–13. Discounts available for early registration, first-time attendance, and groups of five or more.



Alternative Pathways

Bridging Alternative Education to College Entry and Success

Debra DiBiase, Director of Opportunity Youth Programs, SIATech Schools; Amal Amanda Issa, Senior Program Manager, Career Ladders Project

Community colleges, long a vehicle for economic and social mobility, can play an important role in preparing students for ["middle skill" job opportunities]. Their programs are flexible, reasonably priced, and informed by current employer needs. In the California Community College system, Guided Pathways, Multiple Measures Placement, Strong Workforce, and MakerSpace programs are proof of a commitment to student academic success and subsequent employability. What, though, can be done to increase the number of students enrolling in community college and staying enrolled long enough to take advantage of these programs?


Employer Engagement

The BILT Model: Six Ways to Engage Employers and Give Students the Skills They Need to Get Hired

Mark Dempsey, Assistant Director, Ann Beheler, Principal Investigator, National Convergence Technology Center, Collin College, Frisco TX

While every community college program seeks to guide students toward completion of certificates and degrees that will prepare them for employment, too often there is a mismatch between what employers need and what curriculum teaches. The answer lies in getting local business and industry experts to actively participate in the process of steering coursework. The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC)—funded by a National Science Foundation grant and based at Collin College in Frisco, Texas—calls this approach the business and industry leadership team, or BILT.


Building a Strong Partnership to Sustain Student Success

Cynthia Scherphorn, Instruction, Resource and Career Development Consultant, K-12 Career Readiness, Business & Industry Partnerships, Oakland Schools, Waterford, Michigan

Helping others realize personal potential has been a lifelong journey for me, requiring patience, a focus on equity, at times a gentle nudge, and always a dose of perseverance. Building strong partnerships to support student success requires those same things, along with committed partners at every level. Increasing access to apprenticeship opportunities requires a commitment to building purposeful partnerships with industry.


Articulation / Dual Credit

Maximizing Postsecondary Opportunities in Career and Technical Education for Secondary Students Through Articulated and Dual Pathway Credit

Taneka Williams, Career Pathways Coordinator, Career and Technical Education, Cumberland County Schools, North Carolina

As we prepare the next generation of the workforce, it is important that we provide a pathway structure that offers students viable education and career options that allow for seamless transitions without duplication of effort and resources. While dual credit enrollment programs help to fulfill this need, articulated high-school-to-community-college credit can achieve similar goals by offering credit for prior learning with markers of rigor agreed upon through strong community college and secondary education partnerships.


Resource Spotlight

The Employer Perspectives Study: Insights on How to Build and Maintain Strong Employer-College Partnerships

Prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor by Abt Associates and the Urban Institute in partnership with Capital Research Corporation and the George Washington University (October 2018)

From the executive summary: "The Employer Perspectives Study describes strong employer-community college partnerships. It draws insights from employers identified by colleges as partners that have contributed to their programs. [The research team] interviewed 41 employers to better understand their perspective of what constitutes a strong partnership with a college. In doing so, the study provides community colleges, future grantees of federal workforce initiatives including other training providers and the public workforce system, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other policymakers, and other stakeholders with insights about how to approach, build, and sustain strong partnerships with business."


News and Views

4 Career Connections to Help Get More Girls in STEM
Laura Ascione, Managing Editor, eSchool News, April 4, 2019. "Representation matters everywhere, and nowhere is it more important than in the workforce. As the U.S. faces a shortage of STEM workers, female STEM workers are particularly underrepresented. But to get girls in STEM, they have to see themselves in the field."

Blockchain’s Potential for Education
Sara Friedman, THE Journal: Transforming Education Through Technology, March 28, 2019. "At the fundamental level, blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology that allows parties to share information with each other through a controlled system that manages transactions. In the education space, the technology has the potential to revolutionize how school districts share and maintain data, but the technology hasn’t trickled down to the K-12 environment yet."

NCSES 2019 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities Report Goes Live
"The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) has released its 2019 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (WMPD) report, which provides detailed information about participation levels in science and engineering (S&E) education and employment."

Here's How We Can Tackle the Growing Cybersecurity Skills Gap
Ken Xie, CEO, Fortinet, Jan 23, 2019. "More organizations than ever are conducting business online. An expanding digital footprint and increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks have created a growing urgency to secure that data and the resources organizations are deploying." (Published by the World Economic Forum.)

Upcoming Events


Friday–Sunday, October 11–13

The 2019 NCPN conference will be held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. The NCPN conference is one of the best professional development opportunities in the country, offering 100+ breakouts, preconference workshops, keynote speakers, networking opportunities, and an exhibit hall showcasing the latest products and services supporting Career Pathways and CTE.

Conference HOME   Program Strands   Registration   Preconference Workshops   Schedule   Hotel/Travel   Orlando: Things to Do  


June 10–11, Las Vegas, Nevada
June 24–25, Nashville, Tennessee

If you are involved in career technical education, adult education, counseling, corrections, or workforce development and your duties have expanded to include Career Pathways, you and your team are invited to join NCPN for an introduction to Career Pathways and an evaluation of where you are and what your next steps should be.


©2019 CORD. Connections is published by the National Career Pathways Network (, an organization of CORD ( NCPN assists educators, employers, and other stakeholders in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving workforce education programs. Questions? Mark Whitney, 254-741-8315,