PROJECTHow Career Pathways Can Support Career Advancement

In today’s economy, Americans with little or no postsecondary education or training may languish in low-skill, low-wage jobs with few options to advance to higher-paying, more-secure jobs. What does the research tell us about how to help people advance to middle-skill jobs?

The career pathways model supports postsecondary education and job advancement to improve career opportunities for adults and youth. It is designed to help people get the training they need to find good jobs and help employers find skilled workers. But we know little about how career pathways programs can support career advancement that lead to a stable career and family-sustaining wages.


Urban Institute researchers are using evidence to help practitioners, policymakers, and program funders better support career advancement.

Career Advancement Research, Convenings, and Commentary

Fulfilling the Promise of Career Pathways: Strategies That Support Career Advancement
October 11, 2018
This brief presents three career advancement strategies, with examples from five programs, that help people move beyond the first step on a career pathway and advance in their careers.

Building Workforce Success: Advancing Careers with Multiple Postsecondary Credentials
January 30, 2018
This brief presents findings from an analysis of young adults who moved beyond initial career pathway steps to attain middle-skill jobs.

Advancing to a Middle-Skill Job: Moving beyond the First Step on a Career Pathway
The Urban Institute hosted a panel discussion identifying the opportunities and challenges to supporting career advancement to middle-skill jobs. Policymakers, practitioners, and researchers explored how workers can move beyond the first step on a career pathway and into a middle-skill job. View the webcast.

Movin’ on Up: Who Gains from Multiple Postsecondary Credentials?
Earning multiple postsecondary credentials to support career advancement is a key component of career pathways. But does earning multiple postsecondary credentials guarantee success in the labor market?

Strategies for Policymakers, Funders, and Practitioners

These fact sheets offer concise information on how policymakers, funders, and practitioners can develop and implement career pathway programs.

How Programs Can Better Support Career Advancement

How Policy Can Better Support Career Advancement

How Research Can Better Support Career Advancement

Lessons from the Field

These fact sheets share lessons from five promising programs supporting career advancement in their communities.

Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation’s Incumbent Worker Training

Wayne State University’s Warrior Way Back

Instituto del Progreso Latino’s Instituto College

Georgia Tech Logistics Education And Pathways Program

Generation USA’s Retail Career Advancement Program

Research Areas Education Workforce
Tags Job training