Career Pathways demonstration project

Testing a training model to help individuals progress in their careers

A critical challenge in skills development is finding new ways to help individuals with limited skills and work experience obtain skilled jobs, especially those that require post-secondary education. Blueprint led a demonstration project to test the effectiveness of the Career Pathways model – a potential solution to this challenge.

Career Pathways is a post-secondary training model that helps individuals move from lower-skilled to highly skilled jobs by organizing training into a series of modular steps, with each step leading to successively higher credentials and employment opportunities within a sector or occupation. The model has been widely implemented and tested in the U.S., where early findings have been promising.

Recognizing that Ontario needs new ways to enable individuals with relatively limited skills and work experience to fill in-demand jobs, the Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation (OCWI) engaged Blueprint to lead and implement a demonstration project in Ontario to assess the potential of the Career Pathways model.

Our strategy included an evaluation promising training models and an exploration of policy and systems implications. We partnered with Conestoga College to evaluate two programs aligned with the Career Pathways approach: Supportive Care and Warehouse Essentials. Both programs provide entry-level job training and lead to eligibility for advanced standing in a skilled occupation program. Our evaluation measured participant skills gains, employment outcomes and career goals; explored successes and challenges in program delivery; and assessed the perceptions of employer partners about program relevance and value.

We also reviewed promising practices and strategies for implementation, consulted key stakeholders, and analyzed the alignment between the Career Pathways approach and Ontario’s current policy context.

Our evaluation found that the programs implemented by Conestoga College engaged a diverse group of participants, many of whom faced barriers to employment and further education. The majority of participants completed the programs, reported high levels of satisfaction, and were employed following the training. Most reported an interest in further training and employment within the sectors targeted by the programs.

At the same time, the project highlighted some questions about the scalability of the model within the current system, emphasizing the need for further research and dialogue with colleges and other stakeholders to broaden the impact of Career Pathways programs.  

Read the CareerPathways Final Report or our Report in Brief.

A critical challenge in skills development is finding new ways to help individuals with limited skills and work experience obtain skilled jobs, especially those that require post-secondary education. Blueprint led a demonstration project to test the effectiveness of the Career Pathways model – a potential solution to this challenge.

Career Pathways is a post-secondary training model that helps individuals move from lower-skilled to highly skilled jobs by organizing training into a series of modular steps, with each step leading to successively higher credentials and employment opportunities within a sector or occupation. The model has been widely implemented and tested in the U.S., where early findings have been promising.

Recognizing that Ontario needs new ways to enable individuals with relatively limited skills and work experience to fill in-demand jobs, the Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation (OCWI) engaged Blueprint to lead and implement a demonstration project in Ontario to assess the potential of the Career Pathways model.

Our strategy included an evaluation promising training models and an exploration of policy and systems implications. We partnered with Conestoga College to evaluate two programs aligned with the Career Pathways approach: Supportive Care and Warehouse Essentials. Both programs provide entry-level job training and lead to eligibility for advanced standing in a skilled occupation program. Our evaluation measured participant skills gains, employment outcomes and career goals; explored successes and challenges in program delivery; and assessed the perceptions of employer partners about program relevance and value.

We also reviewed promising practices and strategies for implementation, consulted key stakeholders, and analyzed the alignment between the Career Pathways approach and Ontario’s current policy context.

Our evaluation found that the programs implemented by Conestoga College engaged a diverse group of participants, many of whom faced barriers to employment and further education. The majority of participants completed the programs, reported high levels of satisfaction, and were employed following the training. Most reported an interest in further training and employment within the sectors targeted by the programs.

At the same time, the project highlighted some questions about the scalability of the model within the current system, emphasizing the need for further research and dialogue with colleges and other stakeholders to broaden the impact of Career Pathways programs.  

Read the CareerPathways Final Report or our Report in Brief.