Skip to main content

Evidence-based Practice: Career pathway programs


Offering curricula and programs clearly connected to a career pathway improves high school graduation rates. Career pathway programs have three main features: (1) they are organized as small learning communities, or schools within schools; (2) their curriculum centers on one career, occupation, or industry and combines academic and technical aspects relevant to that career; and (3) they provide work-based learning experiences, often through partnerships with local employers to offer students exposure to jobs in demand. These experiences can include summer employment, internships, and mentoring. Career pathway programs in high school produce strong and sustained increases in students’ post-high school earnings, especially for young men.


The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.

This website was funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.