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Using Data to Promote Wholistic and Impactful Career Readiness

Robin Kroyer-Kubicek headshot


Robin Kroyer-Kubicek


Coordinator, State Leaders Career Development Network, Coalition for Career Development Center | 2020-2023

Consultant, Wisconsin Career Pathways and Coordinator, Academic & Career Planning, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction | 2013-2020

Kristy Volesky headshot


Kristy Volesky

Business and Education Strategist, Momentum Studios | 2023-Present

Member, Work-Based Learning Policy Committee, ACTE | 2022-Present

Consultant, Work-Based Learning, Iowa Department of Education | 2019-2023

Career readiness, education, postsecondary outcomes, employment, and economic mobility are distinctly linked, and prioritizing data-driven decisions for collaborative impact is now more important than ever. Under the leadership of Dr. V. Scott Solberg, the Boston University Wheelock College Center for Future Readiness produced the State Map on Career Readiness Policies, Resources, and Performance for the Coalition for Career Development (CCD) Center. The state map provides a valuable state-by-state analysis of how students are learning and thriving beyond graduation based on interconnected career readiness data and available state resources.

As a former state career pathways consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Robin Kroyer-Kubicek co-led the implementation of the state’s personalized career and academic planning (PCAP) process from 2013 to 2017. Influenced by Dr. Solberg’s Use of Individualized Learning Plans: A Promising Practice for Driving College and Career Efforts report, the Wisconsin team recognized the need to identify the gaps in career readiness preparation and overlapping efforts with other educational teams, such as school counseling, career and technical education (CTE), special education, academic college readiness, and adult education preparation. Their state-wide analysis positioned Wisconsin to focus their implementation resources and training on a collaborative approach for all educators.

In 2022, the CCD Center published its first Report on the Condition of Career Readiness in the United States. This original report offered recommendations for industry and government on essential policies and best practices to elevate PCAP processes—these findings are the foundation of this year’s report. The 2023 Report emphasizes the critical need for cross-sector partnerships among our nation’s education, industry, government, and community leaders. These collaborations are key to the development of increasingly efficient and effective methods to ensure future economic security and social mobility for ALL learners. In part, realizing this vision depends on our prioritization of career readiness and focused attention on support resources and promising practices that align with economic competitiveness for our country and children’s futures.

Fast forward to 2024, and recent research highlights the value in connecting career readiness in K-12 education to postsecondary outcomes related to employment and economic mobility as the means to support youth. Recognizing the role career readiness plays in postsecondary success is the first step; deciphering what to do next and how to collaborate with one another are other obstacles we must address.

“As the interest in work-based learning continues to grow nationally, maintaining an integrated connection to career readiness through a supportive PCAP process is essential for the desired long-term student results,” explains Kristy Volesky, business and education strategist with Momentum Studios. Although, historically, career readiness was the responsibility of the school counselor, we know career readiness cannot fall solely on the shoulders of these counselors—especially considering their exorbitant school counselor-to-student ratios.

Laptop displaying state map

As states use the map to examine their data, finding deliberate ways to foster collaboration should be top of mind. How are schools finding direct opportunities for students to learn about careers through quality work-based learning experiences along the continuum? Direct career learning from industry professionals enables students to fully realize a potential career through the direct connection to guidance on suggested academic coursework, degrees, and pathways to the career. Work-based learning experiences help guide decision-making on coursework, postsecondary education, additional career exploration, and more.

If we can use the data in the map to drive national, state, and local conversations, we can effectively eliminate siloed approaches to different initiatives and foster collaborative, impactful outcomes. We need to bridge connections between academic coursework and careers, ones that will produce tangible options for students that extend beyond graduation day.

What is your next step? Convene a new, or leverage an existing, team to explore the CCD Center’s State Map on Career Readiness Policies, Resources, and Performance, and reflect on your state’s career readiness data. As a team, use the data to identify opportunities to advance ALL students’ career readiness success.

American Student Assistance logo

These materials are possible because of American Student Assistance (ASA) and its generous funding.

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