Career Pathways Systems Building

What is a career pathway system?

A career pathway system aligns public partners and engages them in a continuous conversation that is led by industry to ensure that job-seekers and students move seamlessly through and among support programs, educational institutions, training opportunities, and work-based experiences to build skills and credentials that meet industry demand and prepare them for jobs and careers. In Colorado, a sector partnership is an excellent vehicle for building industry-driven career pathway systems, providing a forum for productive and ongoing collaboration with industry and among workforce, education, training partners, and other community partners. In Colorado, the statewide career pathway system aligns career pathway programs and systems developed throughout high demand industries in each economic development region of the state.

There are 8 steps to identify regional demand and then create supply to meet that demand. It is important to do all steps in order. It can take time to move from one step to the next.

  1. Organize business through sector strategies or connect with an existing sector partnership.
  2. Organize a team of public partners
  3. Identify critical occupations
  4. Inventory relevant education, training, and workforce programs
  5. Understand critical competencies required to effectively perform the job.
  6. Align, improve, and create career pathway programs that prepare students and job seekers with critical competencies.
  7. Create a picture of the career pathway and market it to all audiences.
  8. Continuous improvement


How do I build career pathways?

CWDC released the Building Industry-Driven Career Pathway Systems in Colorado Step-by-Step Guide in the fall of 2016. This guide outlines a step-by-step approach to building industry-driven career pathway systems that align education and training programs with the needs of the regional economy to ensure that students and job seekers are prepared the right skills and experiences to get jobs in the driving sectors of their local economies. This guide is designed for workforce boards, educational institutions, and employers seeking to build a career pathway system for their community.

Pathway Building Resources:


Colorado's Career Pathways Systems Building Initiatives

Schedule for publishing career pathways systems information on

  • Manufacturing – launched 2016
  • Information Technology (IT) – launched 2016
  • Healthcare – launched 2017
  • Construction – launched 2017
  • Business Operations – launched 2018 
  • Cybersecurity – launched 2018
  • Education – launched 2019