Career Pathways Programmatic


Healthcare provides one of the greatest opportunities for jobs in today’s economy. However, many people do not know about the array of healthcare jobs that exist and struggle to see how an entry level job can grow into a career.

Employers who provide frontline employees with transparent career pathways for all types of jobs from clinical to administrative to technology and the support to successfully navigate their careers build an employee pipeline to fill high-demand roles while increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.


Career pathways can be created at the organizational level and at the system level. For example, employers may establish career pathways within their organizations. Or, a healthcare industry partnership might bring together local education and training providers, regional employers, and other partners to build career pathways systems. Here are some steps to begin creating effective career paths in your organization:

  1. Examine organizational career opportunities and labor market trends. Analyze the skills, competencies, and credentials necessary for each position within your organization. Determine the experience and training required for a worker to move laterally or up the ladder. Assess whether skills and competencies for existing positions have changed. Identify current and predicted labor gaps.
  2. Create a career map. Create a career map that visually presents each position and the competencies and credentialing required for that position. Perform a “gap analysis” to identify how you can support employees to navigate the map.
  3. Prioritize staff development as a strategic goal. Build a senior leadership team committed to investing in workers, developing their skills, and advancing their careers. Audit policies and processes and provide supervisory training to build a culture of learning and advancement.
  4. Implement accessible learning programs. In order to take advantage of career advancement opportunities, low-skilled workers will need access to low-cost or free, work-based educational programs that build fundamental language and math skills. Apprenticeships and pre-paid tuition support are other ways to make learning accessible.
  5. Provide tangible support. Ensure workers can successfully balance work, family, and educational demands by providing tuition assistance, flexible work hours to attend classes, and wrap-around services to help workers manage needs around transportation, child care, nutrition, and housing.


Career Pathways Toolkit: An Enhanced Guide and Workbook for System Development, Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, 2017.

A framework, resources, and tools for states and local partners to develop, implement, and sustain career pathways systems and programs.

Career Navigation System Guidebook, Guest, James, Bennett, Steven, and Guest, Bill, 2017.

Step-by-step guidance for practitioners that defines and specifies components of demand-driven, competency-based career pathways. Available on

Career Pathways Explained: A Multimedia Overview, Alliance for Quality Career Pathways.

A customizable slide deck that provides an overview of the key features and functions of career pathways.

Shared Vision, Strong Systems: The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways – Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, 2014.

A framework to help state and local career pathway partnerships improve their systems to strengthen, scale, and sustain quality career pathway systems.

CareerSTAT Guide to Investing in Frontline Workers, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, 2017.

Implementing Evidence-Based Career Pathways: A Case Study of the Saint Alphonsus Health System and the Treasure Valley Health Careers Council, James Guest, 2019.

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