Research from respected institutions has been collected to support the use of multiple measures for career readiness indicators. Click on the links below to review the research or click here for a Research Summary.


Identifying a Career Cluster

Pathways to Prosperity 
The forgotten half persists. In 1988, the William T. Grant Foundation published a report that called the then 20 million non-college bound youth “the forgotten half,” and warned: “they are in danger of being caught in a massive bind that can deny them full participation in our society.”

A narrowly defined “college for all” goal—one that does not include a much stronger focus on career-oriented programs that lead to occupational credentials—seems doomed to fail. “middle-skill” occupations such as electrician, and construction manager, dental hygienist, paralegal and police officer pay a significant premium over many jobs open to those with just a high school degree.

Just 9 percent of low-income black teens are employed, as are just 15 percent of low-income Hispanic teens. In contrast, the employment rate among upper middle-income white teens (whose families earn $75,000 to $100,000 a year) is 41 percent—four times higher than among low-income black teens.

70 percent of high school graduates now go to college within two years of graduating. But only about 4 in 10 Americans have obtained either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree by their mid-twenties.


90% Attendance

What Matters for Staying on track and Graduating in Chicago Public High Schools: A Close Look at Course Grades, Failures, and Attendance in the Freshman Year

  • Only 11 percent of students entering with low achievement miss less than one week
  • Just one week of absence per semester indicates problems with students’ grades
  • Course attendance is eight times more predictive of course failure in the freshman year than eighth-grade test scores
  • Freshman absences can be used to predict 63 percent of the variation in course failures among freshmen
  • Course attendance is also highly predictive of getting higher grades, not just avoiding failures. As with course failures, attendance is the strongest predictor of overall grades and of grades other than failures.
  • More than half of the students who miss less than one week of school per semester have a GPA of 3.0 (B average) or higher at the end of their first year, three-fourths have at least a 2.5 GPA, and 90 percent have at least a 2.0 GPA.

25 Hours Community Service

An Assessment of Civic Engagement and Educational Attainment
Civically-engaged teenagers make greater scholastic progress during high school and subsequently acquire higher levels of education than their otherwise similar peers. Community service to fulfill class-requirements significantly enhanced the average odds of college graduation by 22 percentage points.

12 Reasons Community Service Should be Required in Schools
Widely cited pamphlet on the benefits of community service.


Workplace Learning Experience

The Power of Real-World Application: Industry-themed pathways that connect learning with students' interests and career aspirations can transform the high school experience
Overview article on the 800 school pathway sites in California. Suggests learning linked to pathways makes school “real and exciting” to students answering the question, “Why do we need to learn this?” Academic course content is coordinated with and reinforces technical content and vice versa. Report indicates evidence of improved high school outcomes.

Internships Help Students Prepare for Workplace
Students need to develop a work ethic, communication skills, and the ability to work on a team. The traditional high school curriculum is narrow, which particularly hurts low-achieving students who may not be pursuing a four-year degree but need to develop career skills. It was rare to get a hands-on opportunity in medicine as a high school student, some who volunteered got stuck shelving books.

Preparing High School Students for Successful Transitions to Post-Secondary Education and Employment
Students’ high school experiences often do not prepare them adequately for post-secondary education and the world of work.  Integrate strong academic content into career-focused classes. Collaborate with post-secondary institutions, economic development agencies, and employers to help create smoother transitions to college and the workforce.


Industry Credential

What is a Credential?
The Association for Career and Technical Education explains the types and benefits of industry credentials.


Two or more organized Co-Curricular Activities

Extracurricular Participation and Student Engagement
Data from a study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Participants in extracurricular activities were more likely than nonparticipants to aspire to higher education: two-thirds of participants expected to complete at least a bachelor's degree while only about half of nonparticipants expected to do so.

Extracurricular Activities and student Achievement: Everyone Gains, Education Partnerships
Data from a study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Extracurricular activities are one of the best investments that a school can make to help promote achievement, student engagement, and the attitudes and habits that lead to college aspirations and ultimate success.