POSTSECONDARY & WORKFORCE READINESS ACT

Supporting Students from High School to College and Career
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The Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act (PWR), signed into law in 2016, takes a student based and competency based approach to helping students achieve college and career readiness. Being equipped to attend college and obtain meaningful employment is a top priority in Illinois education, because many students are currently graduating unprepared:
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HALF OF ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES WHO ENROLL IN COMMUNITY COLLEGE REQUIRE REMEDIAL EDUCATION
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EMPLOYERS REPORT THAT RECENT HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES OFTEN LACK CRITICAL SKILLS FOR SUCCESS

HOW DOES PWR HELP STUDENTS BECOME PREPARED?

THE POSTSECONDARY AND WORKFORCE READINESS ACT IMPLEMENTS FOUR STRATEGIES:

POSTSECONDARY & CAREER EXPECTATIONS (PaCE)

The Illinois PaCE Framework was developed with extensive input gathered from stakeholders and subject matter experts to provide guidance to students, families, and educators on what types of experiences and information a student should have in order to make the most informed decision about college and career planning beginning in 8th grade and through high school. The framework is organized around three key areas:

  • Career Exploration and Development
  • Postsecondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection
  • Financial Aid and Literacy

It’s recognized that high schools and communities provide a broad array of college and career readiness activities for students, but they are not always well documented and/or connected to other initiatives within a school, district, or community. The intent of the PaCE Framework is for it to be an organizing tool to help acknowledge and connect areas of success and identify those that may need additional attention or resources.  The PaCE Framework was adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission in July 2016.

Examples of activities schools could incorporate to address the three areas include:College Fair Visits
Mock Job Interviews
Career Interest Surveys

Latest Updates

PaCE Training Opportunities
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) continues to provide support to schools with the implementation of a PaCE Framework. ISAC’s PaCE support offerings include the PaCE Overview presentation as well as the PaCE Implementation Support series. All ISAC PaCE offerings are available free of charge upon request. Currently, all of ISAC’s support offerings are being conducted virtually.

ISAC’s Professional Development team presented a session on The Purpose of PaCE and Support for Schools during the 2021 College Changes Everything (CCE) Conference. This session discussed how a PaCE-aligned framework can provide flexibility, accountability, and sustainability and ISAC’s support offerings to help schools with the adoption and implementation of a PaCE framework. The session recording can be found on the College Changes Everything website along with other recordings from the conference.

PaCE Implementation Support
PaCE Implementation Support is a series of three, one-hour meetings, that take a school/district team through the implementation of a PaCE Framework. At each meeting, an ISAC staff member will review one of the three implementation worksheets with the school’s implementation team and answer any questions they may have. Upon completion of the implementation support, the implementation team will be equipped to implement their PaCE Framework.

PaCE Overview
The Pace Overview presentation provides an overview of the PWR Act, an in-depth explanation of the PaCE Framework, the steps involved with developing and implementing your own school or district-specific PaCE aligned framework, as well as available ISAC resources to assist with the development and implementation of your PaCE Framework. This session is recommended for those who would like to build a foundational understanding of the Illinois PaCE Framework.


College & Career Pathway Endorsements on High School Diplomas

The PWR Act establishes a voluntary system for school districts to award college and career pathways endorsements on high school diplomas. The endorsement will demonstrate students’ readiness for college and careers and completion of instruction and professional learning experiences in a selected career interest area, and incentivize career exploration and development, particularly in high-demand career fields. College and career pathway endorsements require an individualized learning plan, career-focused instruction, career exploration activities and 60 hours of internships or similar experiences. State agencies and employers are coordinating to identify minimum career competencies to incorporate into endorsement programs.

Latest Updates

CCPE Applications
The Illinois State Board of Education invites interested districts to complete the voluntary process for school districts to award College and Career Pathway Endorsements (CCPE) to high school graduates. To offer the endorsements, districts must submit an application and a report of projected student participation. Visit isbe.net/Pages/College-and-Career-Pathway-Endorsement.aspx to learn more.

New Currency for Endorsements
A growing number of institutions are offering incentives to students who have earned a CCPE, to help attract high school students into the secondary to postsecondary pathways and increase college completion rates for these students.

  • Chicago State University: Students who earn the CCPE in Education and apply for the Diverse Scholars in Education Scholarship or Call Me Mister Program are automatically advanced as finalists.
  • Northern Illinois University’s College of Education: Admitted students with the endorsement are automatically advanced as finalists to receive select scholarships and to participate in the college’s innovative Educate and Engage program.
  • Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois: Applicants who have earned or are on track to earn the CCPE automatically advance to the final stage of the application process. Watch a webinar recording to learn more about the application process.
  • Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship: Now open to students graduating with any of the pathway endorsements.
  • Sauk Valley Community College: Any student who completes high school with an endorsement in any area will be awarded a $100 credit.

Model Programs of Study
Download the eight published Model Programs of Study Guides at edsystemsniu.org/guides. Guides are available for the following sectors: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Architecture, Construction, and Energy; Arts and Communications; Education; Finance and Business Services; Health Sciences and Technology; Information Technology; and Manufacturing and Engineering. Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, webinars will be offered for each of the Guides, including an overview and how regions are adopting the recommendations.

Pathways School Readiness Framework & Tracker
Education Systems Center at NIU is offering a free project management tool and accompanying tracker to support school districts, intermediary organizations, and school leaders develop action plans for implementing college and career pathways in a deliberate and sustainable manner. Learn more and download.


Transitional Instruction


Pilot of Competency Based Graduation Requirements

TRANSFORMING EDUCATION

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Visit the Illinois 60 by 2025 Network to learn about the goal of ensuring that 60% of all adults have a college or career credential by 2025.

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