The Illinois Postsecondary and Career Expectations (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 middle school grades 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
High schools and communities provide a broad array of college and career readiness activities for students, but these are not always well documented, available to all students, 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 2017.
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Public Act 102-0917 (HB3296) into law on May 27, 2022, which requires districts enrolling students in any of grades 6–12 to adopt and commence implementation of career exploration and career development activities for each of grades 6-12 in accordance with a framework that substantially aligns to the Illinois PaCE Framework. Districts may elect to opt out by school board action as directed in the Act.