About K to Career+™
All students, especially those furthest from opportunity, deserve equitable access to an education that nurtures, develops, and empowers them to reach their full potential. Skyepack’s Kindergarten through Career+™ ecosystem is designed to enhance and grow local and regional opportunities. It is the first comprehensive ecosystem to take local needs and resources in mind in its design and implementation. Too often programs that are designed at state and national levels fail to deliver real opportunity, because they fail to leverage local talent and resources and also are too inflexible to adapt to local and regional challenges and obstacles.
The Skyepack K to Career+™ ecosystem helps develop work-ready students for local and regional employers with the opportunity to pursue higher levels of debt-free education through employer funded tuition assistance programs. Micro-credentials developed by Skyepack with the guidance of local employers and embedded in the students’ journeys help ensure the taught curriculum keeps pace with the changing and expanding sets of knowledge and skills local employers need. Regional post-secondary partners align these micro-credentials with the stackable pathways they already offer to accelerate attainment of advanced certificates and degrees. Work-based learning experiences provide the final validation that students are work-ready upon graduation. When school systems, postsecondary institutions, and employers work together within the Skyepack K to Career+™ ecosystem, the community wins!
The effort began in Lafayette, Indiana in 2014, 300 students participated in Manufacturing Week. By the end of year six, attendance had increased 1298% and local employers began to see an opportunity. A regional workforce council was established and partners started to ask questions about what might happen if students' exposure to locally available, in-demand, high-wage jobs became more intentional and frequent. Would interest go up even higher? The resounding belief was, Yes! And, from this vote of confidence emerged an initiative to start connecting the dots between industry, K-12, and post-secondary institutions. Today, the program serves 12,260 students with the plan to grow that to over 50,000 students in the region by 2023.
Kindergarten through Career Ecosystem Objectives:
Develop parent and student awareness of local industry and pathways to careers through project-based and immersive learning opportunities.
Leverage agile methodology to launch and continuously refine K-12 and post-secondary microcredentials to guarantee a work-ready pipeline of graduates.
Develop customized work-based learning experiences that ensure graduates are Career+™ ready upon graduation.
Encourage graduates to level-up by providing a K-14 Career + College coach and incentives to local employers to offer tuition assistance programs to graduates opting into a career + college post-secondary pathway.
Provide equitable access to in-demand, high-wage, locally available jobs for graduating high school seniors.
The Career+™ Partnership
To get meaningful and lasting results at a local and regional level we understand that it takes a collaborative mindset and lots of heavy lifting. Developing a strong community led initiative takes time, creativity and flexibility. Skyepack has experience bridging the cultures and needs between local and regional K-12 partners, employers, local and regional workforce agencies, chambers of commerce, students and parents, and institutions of higher education. Skyepack has designed technology, curriculum and services to help you develop and launch your own K to Career+™ Ecosystem in your community or region.
The Career+™ Ecosystem
Employer-influenced learning modules introduce students to Employability Skills and Competencies, and locally available, in-demand, high-wage jobs. Teachers help students transfer knowledge into skills through a combination of problem-based learning experiences and immersive employer interactions.
Career Coaches, micro-credentialed in the local labor market, help students develop a pathway to Career + college that will stack into post-secondary pathways and ensure access to high-wage, locally available jobs upon graduation. Students are connected with industry mentors through the Employer Connect platform. Students gain real-life perspectives on employer entry requirements, how to succeed in a new job, and are given opportunities to build and expand their network in the industry including work-based learning opportunities designed to complement each student’s individual Career+™ pathway.
Employer Connect™ allows students and parents to view open jobs, credentials necessary to obtain those jobs, and interact directly with local employers. The system also houses students' career + college portfolio. It’s time to launch! We don’t believe the recruitment of students should be limited to college academic and athletic departments or the military. As early as the fall of their senior year, employers can begin to recruit students directly through Employer Connect™ in the Skyepack platform.
The Skyepack K to Career+™ Team
The Skeypack K to Career+™ Team is made up of current and former K-12, higher education, and industry professionals, curriculum developers, instructional designers, software engineers, workforce and HR specialists, and policy advisors. We work directly with your regional team to develop a customized solution that will drive the local and regional results your communities deserve.
Students begin their stackable pathways in an introductory dual credit course focused on the industry of their choice. As students progress they earn micro-credentials demonstrating their understanding of local employer culture, expectations, and required skills. To maintain the credentials in their portfolio, students must meet agreed-upon KPIs in the areas of attendance, behavior, work-ethic, and academic performance. Students falling short of their pathway goals will receive support from their career coach, and industry mentor. The journey concludes with a capstone class that includes a work-based learning experience and a final performance-based micro-credential to certify the student is career + college ready.