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’s (ISAC) Professional Development (PD) staff members have conducted 20 PD events on the Illinois Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Framework to date in FY21. Over 500 professionals, including teachers, counselors, principals, superintendents, and other college access staff have attended the trainings for a total of 990 cumulative training hours. ISAC continues to provide support for the implementation of the Illinois PaCE Framework. Upcoming offerings include PaCE Overview and PaCE Implementation Support. PaCE Implementation Support is provided upon request. ISAC will offer these sessions virtually and at no cost to help schools understand and adopt the Illinois PaCE Framework or develop a customized framework to fit their needs.

PaCE Implementation Support
PaCE Implantation 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 go through one of the three implementation worksheets with the school’s implementation team and answers 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. Join us Thursday, May 20, 2021, 12 – 1 p.m. Trainings will be held virtually via Webex. Registration is required. For more information and to register please visit isac.org/pace/Webinars. If you are interested in learning more about Illinois PaCE and related resources, visit isac.org/pace. For additional questions and inquiries please contact isac.pace@illinois.gov.


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.
  • 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

Public comments are open through June 5, 2021 for the four new Model Programs of Study Guides in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Architecture, Construction, and Energy; Arts and Communications; and Finance and Business Services. To download drafts of the guides, visit edsystemsniu.org/guides.


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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