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Adult Career Pathways (ACP) Basics

What is a fully-realized adult career pathway? What are the key elements required for effectiveness and sustainability of adult career pathway programming? What do federal WIOA regulations say about adult career pathways and ABE’s role? How do integrated education & training and adult career pathways relate and intersect? What is Minnesota’s approach to adult career pathways?

These tools and reference materials will help answer many of these questions and guide you in setting the foundation for best practices in adult career pathway programming.

Career Pathways Checklist

U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Career, Technical & Adult Education (OCTAE), June 2017

This user-friendly 10-page checklist is designed to help determine the extent to which a newly developed or existing CP program meets the requirements for career pathways as outlined in WIOA. Each page includes a brief explanation of one of the seven criteria, followed by a grid for noting how the program you are assessing meets or does not meet that criterion.


Career Pathways Toolkit: An Enhanced Guide and Workbook for System Development

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, 2017

Organized around six key elements of career pathways, each section includes resources and writable worksheets to help state and local ACP teams with implementation.  (Downloadable PDF available online)

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LINCS Career Pathways Exchange

Literacy Information & Communication System (LINCS)

The Career Pathways Exchange is a free information service that consolidates and distributes career pathways-related resources, events, and information from federal and State agencies and partner organizations. The Exchange streamlines information from multiple outlets to facilitate a deeper national dialogue on career pathways systems development and implementation.

Subscribers receive email digests on topics of interest related to career pathways.

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Minnesota ABE Comprehensive Career Pathways

MN Career Pathways Network

A 13-slide PowerPoint with embedded audio that provides useful graphics and basic orientation to the what and why of adult career pathway programming and the role of ABE in these multi-partner efforts.


Minnesota Career Pathways Network - Core Elements

MN Career Pathways Network

A concise two-page document that outlines core elements of career pathway programming. Also includes the WIOA definition of career pathways and useful graphics on the “tipping point” and on ABE’s role in pathway work.


National Career Pathways Network (NCPN)

NCPN is a membership organization for educators, employers and others involved in the advancement of Career Pathways, career technical education, and related education reform initiatives. NCPN assists its members in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving secondary and postsecondary transition programs by facilitating the exchange of best practices among the country’s leading practitioners.

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National College Transitions Network (NCTN)

NCTN’s purpose is to strengthen policy and practice that prepares nontraditional learners for college and careers. NCTN provides technical assistance and professional development services to community college systems and adult education programs to design models for accelerated career pathways, comprehensive student support services, and engagement with the workforce system. The NCTN website includes tools and resources, technical assistance and information on numerous professional development opportunities.

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WIOA Definition of Career Pathways

Minnesota Department of Education

A one-page easy reference that outlines the seven criteria for career pathways as described in WIOA regulations, along with further explanation of a few of the terms in the definition.