Raise the Bar: Create Pathways for Global Engagement

Raise the Bar: Create Pathways for Global Engagement

Goal: Ensure every student has a path to postsecondary education and training, including by establishing and scaling innovative systems of college and career pathways that integrate high schools, colleges, careers, and communities and lead to students earning industry-recognized credentials and securing in-demand jobs.

The Problem

Today, most good jobs—those that provide a living wage—require some form of career-connected postsecondary education and training. And by 2027, 70 percent of jobs will require education or training beyond high school. Our country must dramatically increase the number of Americans who possess a postsecondary credential. And we must connect our education and workforce systems to expand and create new opportunities for all students to engage in innovative and equitable pathways that propel them to rewarding futures.

Our Strategies

Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success:

  • This interagency initiative aims to reimagine how our nation's high schools prepare all students to thrive in their future careers by blurring the lines between elementary and secondary education, college, and careers. The Department of Education is partnering with the White House and the Departments of Labor and Commerce to engage and mobilize employers and build strong education-to-employment strategies, policies, and programs aligned to regional economic needs. Additionally, the Department of Education is working to build the capacity of leaders in the field to create innovative pathways and partnerships through case studies, communities of practice, summits, and an actionable playbook and suite of resources.

Dual Enrollment:

  • The Department supports dual enrollment opportunities, which allow high school students to take a college course and earn both high school and college credit. Dual enrollment is a proven, evidence-based strategy to increase high school achievement and completion and to boost postsecondary enrollment and credential attainment. States and districts are using resources from the American Rescue Plan's (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency (ESSER) Fund to expand access to and participation in dual enrollment programs, particularly for students who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Work-Based Learning:

  • To ensure more students can benefit from opportunities that connect academic learning to real-world applications and can be exposed to different career fields, the Department aims to expand access to work-based learning programs and initiatives. Work-based learning is an evidence-based approach that also helps young people to generate income, establish future earning potential, and connect with professionals in the labor market. To help create new and enhance existing high-quality work-based learning programs, the Department is participating in the Career Z Challenge. Eligible participants are engaging in a collaborative ecosystem of educators, businesses, industry partners, workforce leaders, and community stakeholders to provide students with interconnected career development opportunities all over the country.

Workforce Credentials:

  • Education programs that incorporate the opportunity to earn an industry-sought credential can give young people a leg up in the labor market when they graduate from high school. Through the use of ARP ESSER funds, the Department of Education is helping states and districts to identify workforce credentials that have value in the labor market, expand opportunities for students to earn these credentials, and eliminate barriers to credential attainment.

Career Advising and Navigation:

  • At the Department, we believe that every young person should leave high school with clear career goals and the knowledge and resources needed to pursue them. Getting there requires the help and support of adults. That is why the Department is working to increase access to career advising and navigation programs that provide students with information about career exploration and planning; offer insights about financial aid for college, job training, and other postsecondary options; and provide supports for students to persist in and complete career and technical education programs or paths of study.

Sampling of ARP Funding Highlights:

  • The Department of Education issued a call to action to expand access to college and career pathways and published a fact sheet and other resources to help educators and leaders in the field use ARP funds to reengage students and enhance learning through career and technical education.
  • The Department also released a Dear Colleague Letter to help the field use ARP funds to provide students with opportunities to engage in dual enrollment and work-based learning, earn workforce credentials, and participate in career advising and navigation.
  • Through webinars and blogs devoted to student engagement, career pathways, state and local leadership, and dual enrollment the Department also is assisting states and districts in learning more about how they can use federal funds to expand access to these opportunities for all students.

Grants and Resources:

  • To capture the ways in which the Department is working to ensure every student has a strong onramp to college and careers, the agency released an Unlocking Career Success one-pager with links to federal resources and grants.
  • Through a new $25 million grant program for Career-Connected High Schools, the Department aims to launch partnerships that blur the lines between high school, college, and careers by providing dual enrollment, workforce credentials, work-based learning, and career advising and navigation.  As part of the Department's Unlocking Career Success Initiative, this grant program will put all students on powerful and rewarding pathways to their futures.   
  • The Your Place in Space Challenge is helping to create engaging learning opportunities for students to connect career and technical education programs with a wide variety of space careers; explore the challenges and opportunities of space missions; and inspire students to envision and pursue space careers.

Goal: Provide every student with a pathway to multilingualism.

The Problem

The number of people in the United States who speak a language other than English at home nearly tripled over the last three decades. ​And as of 2019, there were 5.1 million English learners enrolled in our nation's public elementary and secondary schools, comprising 10 percent of the student population. English learners are one of the fastest-growing student populations. As a nation, we must do all we can to support students learning English. And as our nation continues to grow more diverse, and as our global economy becomes more interconnected, we also must provide opportunities for all students to be multilingual.

Our Strategies

Support English Learners:

  • Through $890 million in Title III grants to states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico, the Department will help to improve the education of English learners and immigrant youth.
  • Additionally, the Department will continue its robust oversight of the obligations that schools have to serve English learners under Title VI. The law requires that schools, districts, and state educational agencies take affirmative steps to address language barriers so that English learners may participate meaningfully in their schools' educational programs.

Increase Access to Bilingual Education:

  • The Department of Education is continuing to provide technical assistance and oversight to promote research-based bilingual educational opportunities and language instruction in early childhood education settings and beyond.
  • Additionally, the Department is highlighting districts and states that are implementing innovative approaches to serving multilingual students and elevating evidence-based programs, including seals of biliteracy at the state level.   

Prepare a Multilingual Workforce to Succeed in a Global Economy:

  • Through the use of the bully pulpit and through federal resources via competitive grant programs, the Department will elevate the need to support a diverse and multilingual educator workforce, including through first-time funding for the August F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence grants, a new Native Language Resource Center, and graduate fellowships. The Department also will continue to support Grow-Your-Own programs to serve the increasing diversity of students and ensure students have the skills to meet the needs of a global economy and society.

Sampling of ARP Funding Highlights:

  • Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), states and districts are engaged in important work to expand pathways to multilingual education and to support English learners. For example:
    • Indiana's Teacher of English Language Learners (I-TELL) program is paying for tuition and fees for current educators to earn the additional licensure they need to become teachers of record for students who are learning English. This program is a partnership between the Indiana Department of Education and the University of Indianapolis' Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning.
    • The Red Hawks Rising Teacher Training Academy is a partnership among Montclair State University, the Newark Board of Education, and the American Federation of Teachers. The program prepares students of color to become teachers who reflect the diversity of the Newark community.
    • Collier County Public Schools in Florida has launched specific strategies to bridge the digital divide for migrant students based on feedback from migrant students and families and community partners. Schools within the district also are home to Migrant Resource Centers where students and families can go to receive targeted supports, services, and mentoring.
    • California's West Contra Costa Unified School District is using surveys to keep track of English learners' overall well-being and is providing their families with translated communications on available services, including school counseling.
    • The Illinois State Board of Education has created a $4 million grant from federal coronavirus relief funds that will help to increase the number of bilingual educators in the state, amid growing calls to fill teacher vacancies.

Grants and Resources:

  • To capture the ways in which the Department is working to provide every student with opportunities for multilingual learning, the agency released a one-pager with links to federal resources and grants.
  • For the first time ever, the Department awarded funding for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence program. Through this program, $18 million in federal funds will be put to use to support colleges and universities in prioritizing educator preparation programs that prepare multilingual teachers of color to become fully certified to teach multilingual learners, including in dual language programs.​
  • The Department's National Professional Development (NPD) grant program is supporting 44 colleges and universities to deliver professional learning for teachers of English learners, with a focus on school readiness and early childhood development.
  • The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) has disseminated more than 25,000 resources to the field, including briefs, fact sheets, toolkits, podcasts, and other information to serve multilingual learners and highlight their needs.