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All of the work-based learning training in Jobs to Careers was designed to contribute to the career advancement of low-wage, low-skill workers. Education is the basis for career success in health care. However, low-wage workers in health care face challenging barriers to taking on additional education—for example, many of them have two jobs. Work-based learning offers the opportunity to infuse the student’s work with educational content. That content is based on a career path opportunity that meets both employer needs and student interests.

In the development of career paths, many Jobs to Careers projects developed career pathways maps that showed prospective participants how they can advance to higher-level occupations from their current job. The best career pathways are tracked to educational competencies and degrees.


Designing Career Pathways 

Creating Career Pathways for Frontline Health Care Workers
An effective, efficient workforce is essential to addressing rising costs in the health care industry. Nevertheless, effective investments in career advancement for frontline health care workers are limited. This report focuses on promising practices drawn from Jobs to Careers.

Developing Career Ladders: Key Design Elements (PowerPoint)
This Jobs to Careers presentation documents six key steps in developing programs that encompass career ladders: organizational needs analysis, skills gap analysis, training and advancement, training implementation, participant/employer outcomes, and systems outcomes.

Jobs to Careers Milestone Tool (interactive tool) (Click here for printable version of this tool.)
The Jobs to Careers Milestone Tool recommends tackling the following questions before developing career paths for frontline employees through work-based learning:

  • What occupational goal are your frontline employees working toward?
  • Which of the rungs on this ladder will result in eligibility for an academic credential or taking a certification exam?
  • What is the business case for this? 
  • How will labor supply and demand affect recruitment and retention for these positions?
  • How will these positions change over time (if at all)?
  • Is your ladder aligned with the employers’ greatest business needs? 
  • What strategies must be in place to ensure that the rungs on the ladder are achievable for adults working full time?
  • What about strategies for adults without pre-college skills?
  • What competencies are required for the targeted occupation?
  • How will participants receive career coaching?
Career Pathways Maps

PCC GRN Roadmaps (PowerPoint)
Jobs to Careers in Community-Based Care
In Portland, OregonJobs to Careers developed a flexible set of gerontology pathways for direct caregivers.

MS Career Path (PowerPoint)
In MississippiJobs to Careers demonstrated career advancement opportunities for the unit clerk position in hospital settings.

Austin Career Paths (PowerPoint)
In Austin, TexasJobs to Careers demonstrated career path advancement for frontline workers in both allied health (clinical tech) positions and administrative (patient access representative) positions in hospital settings.

BACH career path slides
Advancing in Health and Health Care Careers—Rung by Rung
In Baltimore, MarylandJobs to Careers developed a career path for frontline hospital staff with training and certification as nurse aides (CNAs) and a higher skilled rung, “nurse extender.”

Career Pathways Schematic
In Youngstown, OhioJobs to Careers developed career paths for frontline hospital workers to advance, via apprenticeship-based training, to first and second-rung roles as unit clerks or health care associates.

Career in Addictions Flowchart (diagram)
In Fall River, MassachusettsJobs to Careers mapped potential career paths in two areas for frontline behavioral health workers in the substance abuse field: counseling and social work, or nursing.

Career Advancement Model (diagram)
A Hartford, Connecticut-based partnership of nursing facilities, led by the region’s workforce board, mapped career paths for Certified Nursing Assistants.

Effective Characteristics of Career Ladder Programs (PowerPoint)
This presentation documents some of the key characteristics of career path programs as demonstrated in Jobs to Careers.