Background

Developing Illinois' Workforce


Originally developed and implemented as part of Career and Technical Education (CTE), P-20 STEM Programs of Study serve as a model for bridging programs across P-20 education institutions and are demonstrated to improve academic achievement, increase graduation rates, and improve transitions to postsecondary education and employment. Also, P-20 STEM Programs of Study are designed to improve access and success for underrepresented populations in STEM fields, such as women, minorities, low-income, and disabled students.

Illinois Pathways is empowering students to explore their academic and career interests through local programs of study designed to prepare them for careers in the fastest growing careers. These programs are organized around in-demand careers and feature a series of orientations and advanced courses across educational institutions that are paired with hands on learning experiences, assessments and industry credentialing opportunities.

Growing Illinois' Economy


As Illinois' economy continues to modernize it is critically important to understand how our economy is both growing and changing. More importantly, we need to make sure our education system is supporting students in developing the skills and knowledge that will ensure they are competitive in a 21st century economy. The majority of job opportunities in the future will require some level of college education or training. As part of this effort the State of Illinois' P-20 Council has established a goal to increase the proportion of Illinoisans with high-quality degrees and credentials from 44 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025. Illinois Pathways proposes a new and innovative approach to increasing credential attainment by supporting two strategies:

  1. Better support local schools, postsecondary institutions, and programs to enable learners to explore their academic and career interests in STEM fields; and
  2. Improve coordination of public and private investment, including business and industry, in supporting the development of a workforce that can be competitive in tomorrow's economy.

By 2018 Illinois will offer over 319,000 jobs requiring education and training in STEM) occupations, increasing nearly 20 percent since 2008.  According to Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, over 90 percent of those STEM occupations will require postsecondary education or training.  To grow the economy and maintain its competitiveness, preparing Illinois students for STEM careers is essential.  To achieve these goals Illinois Pathways has set forth STEM Learning Exchanges.  Implementation of the STEM Learning Exchanges is coordinated through the State of Illinois education, workforce and economic development agencies.