The Pro Path Fund is a funder collaborative established in 2015 and composed of the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance and a group of education funders in pursuit of a shared vision: a Chicagoland education and workforce system with a seamless transition from secondary to postsecondary programs.
The Pro Path Fund takes its name from Progressive Pathways to Postsecondary Success, a framework of career options that envisions an individuals’ career path progressively building towards success through alternating periods of postsecondary education or training and employment.
This framework is central to the Pro Path Fund’s aim to change the “college for all” mindset, replacing it with an accessible, well-connected, transparent career pathway system with multiple entry and exit points as described by the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways. This career pathway system actively centers postsecondary opportunities that may come before, in addition to, or instead of a four-year degree program. These opportunities — referred to as Progressive Pathway (“Pro Path”) programs — include vocational training, stackable credential programs, and apprenticeships, among others.
Initial research supported by the Pro Path Fund (viewable here and here) revealed three major gaps in Chicagoland’s career pathway system that stand in the way of the Pro Path Fund’s vision:
- Information Gap: Lack of quality information about Pro Path programs
- Systems Gap: Lack of accessible systems through which individuals and their guides can obtain information about Pro Path programs
- Guidance Gap: Lack of guides equipped to help individuals find, access, and succeed with Pro Path programs
To address the Guidance Gap, the Pro Path Fund works with Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Jobs Council, and Youth Guidance to infuse the Chicago College and Career Advising Credential (CCCAC) with a Pro Path ethos. Click here to learn more about CCCAC.
To address the Information and Systems Gaps, the Pro Path Fund supports Chicagoland CareerPathways, the only free and open online directory of Pro Path programs in Chicagoland. What began as a list of postsecondary opportunities for young adults has expanded to include programs for adult career-seekers and -changers, virtual events to connect programs to interested individuals, vast stores of data on Chicagoland’s Pro Path system, avenues to connect interested funders to vetted programs, and more. Chicagoland CareerPathways also offers professional development opportunities for secondary and postsecondary guides and instructors, addressing the Guidance Gap.
To learn more about Chicagoland CareerPathways, click here. To get in touch with the team at Chicagoland CareerPathways, click here.
For more information about the Pro Path Fund, contact CWFA’s Deputy Director, Adrian Esquivel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.