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
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is pleased to announce new dates for the PaCE Overview and PaCE Implementation Leader Training, and new supports. ISAC will offer these sessions virtually and at no cost. The goal is to help schools understand and adopt the Illinois PaCE Framework or develop a customized framework to fit their needs.

*NEW* 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 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.

PaCE Implementation Leader Training
The PaCE Implementation Leader Training will provide an in-depth perspective on the Illinois PaCE Framework and the implementation process for those who wish to serve as implementation leaders in their schools. Attendees of this training will be equipped to serve as PaCE Implementation Leaders in their schools or organizations. Upon completion of this training, implementation leaders will have a better understanding of how to assist their schools in implementing the Illinois PaCE Framework or can serve as a liaison between their school and ISAC, if the school wishes to create their own customized framework. This session is recommended for those who are already familiar with the Illinois PaCE Framework or are currently implementing a framework in their school or district.
 

Date Time* Topic
Thursday,
02/18/2021
10 AM – 12 PM PaCE Implementation Leader Training
Thursday,
03/18/2021
12 – 1 PM PaCE Overview
Thursday,
04/22/2021
1 – 3 PM PaCE Implementation Leader Training
Thursday,
05/20/2021
12 – 1 PM PaCE Overview

Trainings will be held virtually via WebEx. Registration is required. For more information and to register please visit https://www.isac.org/pace/Webinars/. If you are interested in learning more about Illinois PaCE and related resources, visit www.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

NIU College of Education/SEPI Partnership
Northern Illinois University’s College of Education and Education Systems Center at NIU announced new incentives for Illinois students graduating with the College and Career Pathway Endorsement (CCPE) in Education. Starting immediately, accepted 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. Download the fact sheet for students and families.

This announcement makes NIU the first postsecondary institution in the state to offer currency to high school students for the CCPE. In December, EdSystems announced a similar partnership with Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois, which is automatically advancing any applicants who have earned or are on track to earn the CCPE to the final stage of the application process. Additionally, HB2170, also known as the Education Omnibus bill, includes an update to the Illinois’ Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship to offer funding to students graduating with any of the pathway endorsements (Article 120).

Funding Opportunity for College and Career Pathways
The Department of Commerce and Employment Opportunity (DCEO) has put out a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) which sets forth the requirements for 2021 WIOA Statewide Youth Career Pathways Initiative. On their webpage, they are specifically listing out the College and Career Pathway Endorsement as potential model for the funding opportunity, as long as it pertains to the target populations of the NOFO—i.e. WIOA-eligible In-School Youth or regions specifically targeted by the initiative.
 
If you are seeking to serve WIOA populations and are looking for ways to integrate more equitable access into College and Career Pathways, we encourage you to consider applying for this grant. While highly competitive, there is precedent for Illinois school districts receiving funding: Peoria Public Schools applied for and received funding in 2017 for a program targeting 25 youth students with occupations in the construction sector.
 
To learn more, register to attend the upcoming information sessions and technical assistance webinars at illinoisworknet.com/2021youthnofo.


Transitional Instruction


Pilot of Competency Based Graduation Requirements

TRANSFORMING EDUCATION

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