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CAEL Newsroom

CAEL-Led Partnership Awarded U.S. Department of Education Grant of Nearly $5 million

CAEL contact: Carlo Bertolini
312-499-2338 | cbertolini@cael.org


CAEL-Led Partnership Awarded U.S. Department of Education Grant of Nearly $5 million

Career exploration system integrates resources throughout the education-employment system to connect learners with work-relevant education and career opportunities

INDIANAPOLIS – The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) today announced the funding of Connected Pathways, a national career-exploration system, by the U.S. Department of Education. Fully personalized, scalable, and adaptable, the technology solution is designed to boost the social mobility of Black, Latinx, and other underserved learners across the country by empowering them to make informed choices as they navigate complex educational and career options. The program will be available at no cost to all users.

Connected Pathways will help students link learning opportunities to rewarding careers aligned to their interests, ambitions, and aptitudes. It also will offer them a demystified yet data-driven understanding of the costs and benefits associated with the many education and career decisions they face.

The Connected Pathways program is funded in full by a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), which encourages holistic solutions for improving access to postsecondary education. The CAEL-led Connected Pathways project will provide an inclusive and accessible career awareness platform for high school students and other young adults nationally, with pilot projects tailored to unique regional needs.

Joining CAEL in the development of Connected Pathways are technical and data partners Vantage Point, The Mentor Method, and fellow Strada Education Network affiliate Emsi. CAEL also will work closely with community partners Junior Achievement, The Manufacturing Institute at the National Association of Manufacturers, the five regions that comprised CAEL’s inaugural Inclusive Development Network cohort, and independent evaluation partner American Council on Education (ACE).

"Helping students succeed and achieve social mobility requires more than any one organization can provide – we need to work collaboratively to help learners identify their best opportunities, navigate those options, and support them along their path to success,” said Dawn Lang, senior vice president of partnership development at CAEL. “We are excited and honored to work with the partners on Connected Pathways to make a difference for students in need as they work to improve their lives through education."

“Linking learning and work, and creating synergies between traditional education and non-college learning, are central to this partnership and the Connected Pathways program,” said Tim Greinert, senior vice president of development for Junior Achievement USA.

The first phase of Connected Pathways will launch in June. As it rolls out nationally over the three-year term of the grant, CAEL and its partners expect to deploy Connected Pathways in various configurations to ensure it meets the unique needs of local communities and complements existing resources. It will serve as a means for disadvantaged students and their families to connect with a network of counselors, teachers, volunteers, social workers, community organizations, and employers to help them successfully navigate the structural inequities that hinder access to lifelong learning pathways and fulfilling careers. Connected Pathways will include an online platform with additional project details, which will roll out ahead of the June launch.

About CAEL

Recognizing that adult learners are the backbone of the U.S. economy, CAEL helps forge a clear, viable connection between education and career success, providing solutions that promote sustainable and equitable economic growth. CAEL opens doors to opportunity in collaboration with workforce and economic developers; postsecondary educators; employers and industry groups; and foundations and other mission-aligned organizations. By engaging with these stakeholders, we foster a culture of innovative, lifelong learning that helps individuals and their communities thrive. Established in 1974, CAEL, a Strada Education Network affiliate, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization. Visit cael.org to learn more.