Why College and Career Pathway Endorsements?

The purpose of the system is to:

    • Recognize and incentivize students who can demonstrate knowledge and skills required for success in postsecondary education and employment
    • Encourage career exploration and development to improve students’ decision-making for subsequent education and career advancement
    • Promote greater consistency of college and career pathway program structures
    • Align supports from the State, employers, and regional intermediary support organizations
    • Institutionalize college and career pathways as a key strategy for preparing students for postsecondary education and career opportunities

Information for students and school districts

  • School district participation is voluntary
  • As of 2019-2020 school year, eligible school districts may award one or more College and Career Pathway Endorsements on high school diplomas. These endorsement areas are established by ISBE in consultation with other agencies, postsecondary institutions, employers, and stakeholders.
  • The endorsement areas will relate to:
    • Career cluster framework
    • Prevalent models for comprehensive pathway systems in Illinois high schools that articulate to postsecondary institutions and career training programs
    • Prevalent models for guided pathway systems at postsecondary institutions
    • Transition Math

What is required for a student to earn a pathway endorsement?

In order to earn a College and Career Pathway Endorsement, a student must satisfy all of the following:

    • Develop and periodically update an individualized plan for postsecondary education or training, careers, and financial aid.  Included in the plan should be development of a resume and personal statement.  This plan must span grades 9-12th and include an annual process for updating the plan.
    • Complete a career-focused instructional sequence, including at least 2 years of coursework or equivalent competencies within one or multiple endorsement areas. This will be state supported to ensure that coursework will articulate to a certificate or degree program at a local community college.
    • Complete at least 2 Career Exploration Activities or one Intensive Career Exploration Experience, at least 2 Team-based Challenges, and at least 60 cumulative hours of participation in one or more Supervised Career Development Experiences.
    • Demonstrate readiness for non-remedial coursework in reading and math by high school graduation.  This relates to the work in Transitional Math.

What is required for a school district to offer a pathway endorsement?

  • A school district must submit a form (created by ISBE and ICCB) that indicates the school district’s intent to award a College and Career Pathway Endorsement.
    • ISBE or ICCB may require evidence to support the certification.
  • The school district must participate in a no-cost quality review process adopted by ISBE.

Statewide Supports

Agencies will develop and adopt a comprehensive interagency plan for supporting the development of College and Career Pathway Endorsement programs. (The plan will be re-assessed at least every 5 years) This plan will:

    • Designate priority, State-level industry sectors
    • Articulate a strategy for supporting Pathway Endorsement programs that include funding from the state and federal levels, business investments, and local investments
    • Consider the need for school districts and postsecondary institutions to phase the act in over multiple years
    • Address how the Pathway Endorsement programs phase into postsecondary institution degree programs

Agencies will establish a public-private steering committee for each industry sector which will include representatives from business-led partnerships (subject to funding). The steering committee will recommend to the agencies minimum career competencies for particular pathways that students could attain by high school graduation as part of the Pathway Endorsement program. The agencies will recognize and incentivize programs that:

    • Address a priority State-level industry sector
    • Work in collaboration with school districts, community colleges, local workforce development boards, and employers
    • Align to sequences of minimum career competencies

Agencies will provide the following supports for the Pathway Endorsement program:

    • Provide guidance documents for implementation
    • Provide or designate web-based tools
    • Make available a statewide insurance policy for appropriate supervised career development experiences
    • Provide or designate model instructional units
    • Coordinate with business-led, sector-based partnerships to:
      • Designate available curricular and instructional resources that school districts can select to address requirements
      • Designate stackable industry-based certifications
      • Deliver or support sector-oriented professional development, career exploration activities, intensive career exploration experiences, team-based challenges, and supervised career development experiences
      • Develop recognition and incentives for school districts and students

ICCB and IBHE will adopt requirements for postsecondary institutions to define first-year course schedules and degree programs with Endorsement areas to support the successful transition of students who have completed the endorsement into related degree programs.

ICCB’s Role

  • Along with ISBE, ICCB will develop the requirements for a school to indicate the intent to award College and Career Pathway Endorsements in one or more areas.
  • IBHE and ICCB will jointly adopt requirements for postsecondary institutions to define first-year course schedules and degree programs with endorsement areas to support the successful transition of students in these programs into college courses.

Implementation Timeline

  • 2016-2017 school year: Agencies develop a plan, define frame work, and establish public-private sector committees
  • 2017-2018 school year: Steering committees recommend competencies
  • 2018-2019 school year: School districts submit information to agencies to offer endorsement programs
  • 2019-2020 school year: First high school graduates with endorsements