The goals of a career pathway approach and cluster-oriented economic development mutually reinforce each other. With a sector-specific focus, career pathways help workers attain credentials that regional employers recognize and value, while also connecting employers directly to workers with the right skills. In doing so, career pathway programs need to have an understanding of the region’s unique industry mix, emerging trends within an industry cluster, and the human capital needs that make the Chicago region a destination for such business activity. Related information and analysis lie at the heart of coordinating effective cluster-oriented economic development. 

cluster initiatives( A plan or program to make organized, concerted investments in addressing the growth constraints of ...
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can help to organize industry leadership to support career pathway programs, especially in industries with opportunities for workers’ upward economic mobility that anticipate challenges in filling entry-level positions.

Action 1

Fully incorporate strategies to develop and implement high quality career pathways into efforts aimed at supporting the region’s traded industry clusters.


Economic development organizations, in partnership with cluster organizations

Action 2

Make program-related decisions that align curricula with skills demand and broaden students’ career opportunities in the region’s growing and emerging traded clusters.


Education and training providers

Action 3

Articulate career pathways where knowledge, skills, abilities, and work values can be transferable across multiple occupations and industries within industry clusters.


Career pathway program providers and system administrators