Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force

Defining “Career and College Ready”

Recommendation No. 1: Minnesota should define “Career and College Readiness.” The Task Force recommends the following working definition.

“Career (Workforce) and College Readiness” means that a high school graduate has the knowledge, skills and competencies to successfully embark on a career-track for an employment position and can successfully pursue any post-secondary education opportunity whether if be a degree, a diploma or a certificate including the ability to successfully complete credit-bearing coursework at a two-year and four-year college or university.”

Other Definitions:

From the 2008 P-20 Report “THE ROAD MAP TO College and Career Readiness for Minnesota Students”

Defining Readiness

1. Adopt the following broad definition of college and career readiness as proposed by Achieve, routinely reinforcing the belief that the same level of readiness is needed for students wishing to pursue virtually any postsecondary education opportunity (degree, diploma, and certificate programs offered by two-year and four-year colleges and universities):

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness includes the knowledge and skills that high school graduates need in order to do credit bearing coursework at a [two-or four-year] college or university and/or to embark successfully on a career-track employment position (that pays a living wage, provides benefits, and offers clear pathways for advancement through further education and training).

ACT, 2008: The level of achievement a student needs to be ready to enroll and succeed—without remediation—in credit bearing first‐year postsecondary courses. And by postsecondary we mean primarily two‐year or four‐year institutions, trade schools, and technical schools. Today, however, workplace readiness demands the same levelof knowledge and skills as college readiness.


From an academic perspective, college and career readiness means that a high school graduate has the knowledge and skills in English and mathematics necessary to qualify for and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing postsecondary coursework without the need for remediation -- or put another way, a high school graduate has the English and math knowledge and skills needed to qualify for and succeed in the postsecondary job training and/or education necessary for their chosen career (i.e. community college, university, technical/vocational program, apprenticeship, or significant on-the-job training).


The knowledge and skills that high school graduates need in order to do credit bearing coursework at a (two-or four-year) colleges and university and/or to embark successfully on a career-track employment position that pays a living wage, that provides benefits, and that provides clear pathways for advancement through further education and training.

(Conley, 2012)

A student is college and career ready when he or she can both enroll in and successfully complete postsecondary collegiate or vocational programs without remedial academic work or assistance.

International Baccalaureate Career-related Certificate Programme 2013:

Career Ready:

· A career-related competency

· Experience presenting before groups and working in collaborative teams

· Linguistic proficiency and intercultural competence

· A work ethic that develops maturity and responsibility

College Ready:

· Academic knowledge and research skills

· Critical literacy and advanced writing skills

· Strong time management skills

· Confidence, resilience and commitment

The Career Readiness Institute 2013:

Career readiness is broader than existing diploma requirements or career and technical education…means demonstrating proficiency in rigorous, applied skills acquired through the integration of academic and job-specific skills to function effectively in today’s workplace and society to be: life-long learners, decision makers, problem solvers, technology competent, expert communicators with strong interpersonal skills

National Assessment Governing Board defines career preparedness as a subset of readiness:

“Preparedness focuses on academic qualifications, which are measured by NAEP. Readiness includes behavioral aspects of student performance—time management, persistence, and interpersonal skills, for example—which are not measured by NAEP.” (Technical Panel on 12th Grade Preparedness. Research Final Report, 2009).

Texas defines college readiness as “. . . what students must know and be able to succeed in entry-level courses at postsecondary institutions in Texas,” and career readiness as, “ . . . employees [who are] able to read and communicate well, to perform relatively complex mathematical calculations accurately, to possess a strong knowledge of basic science, to have a fundamental knowledge of American culture and the world beyond, and to be able to think critically and adjust to rapidly changing work environments” (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board & Texas Education Agency, 2009).

Virginia defines college readiness as, “. . . the level of achievement students must reach to be academically prepared for success in entry-level credit-bearing college courses” (Virginia Department of Education, 2012).