Pathways 101 - Understanding the Basics


What Are Career Pathways?

Career Pathways are broad groupings of career specialties/occupations that have common skills and knowledge. Career Pathways provide a context for exploring career options at all levels of education and a framework for linking learning to the skills and knowledge needed for future success.


Where Should Career Pathways Be Used?

Career Pathways provide an ideal organizing tool at all educational levels—kindergarten through college—to guide career exploration and planning activities, to focus teaching and learning, and to link education with relevant real-world experiential activities.


How Many Career Pathways Are There?

Hawai‘i has six Career Pathways:

  • Arts and Communication
  • Business
  • Health Services
  • Natural Resources
  • Industrial and Engineering Technology and
  • Public and Human Services


How Are Career Pathways Developed?

Educators and representatives from business and industry collaborated to determine which occupations belong in each Career Pathway. Each Career Pathway moves from a core area that includes business/industry standards common to the occupations within the Career Pathway to more focused clusters of work-related functions or specific occupations.


How Can Career Pathways Be Used?

One use for Career Pathways is as a tool for career exploration. For younger children, the Career Pathways posters can be used as an aid for career exploration. Identifying various occupations within each Career Pathway is a good start to developing career exploration activities. Older children and adults may find that taking the interest inventory (RIASEC) in this booklet helps them explore Career Pathway options.


While career exploration is valuable for all students, special needs students such as second language learners or those with disabilities have limited role models and may face stereotyped expectations. Introducing students to broad career pathways, and the numerous career clusters and occupations within, expands the list of career possibilities for all students.


At the secondary and postsecondary levels, Career Pathways provide curriculum standards that meet business and industry requirements. Implementing these standards will ensure student attainment of a high level of academic and technical skills and a seamless transition from secondary to postsecondary education as well as a satisfying career.



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