Policy Series Reports

Illinois STEM Learning Exchanges , part of the Illinois Pathways, an initiative funded through Race to the Top (RTT), focus on supporting local implementation of P-20 STEM Programs of Study.  The goal of the Illinois Pathways is to advance statewide public-private education partnerships that provide an infrastructure to advance college and career readiness based on career clusters from preschool to graduate school (P-20). 

The STEM Learning Exchanges work as a collective impact strategy and are organized into nine sector-specific areas to better coordinate planning and funding, leverage resources, review talent supply-chain performance, and support employer investments. The program is designed to track local and statewide performance as well as connect with local programs and industries.

Each of the sectors is governed by its own consortium of education, business, and community partners and, while being required to have a state-approved strategic plan and state designation, each sector operates and receives public investment independently.  Illinois initially seeded the effort through $3.2 million of its RTT funding to support the STEM Learning Exchange and has now capitalized on four main funding sources, including federal, state, business, and philanthropy for the Illinois Pathways.

This state is an excellent example of taking advantage of nationwide initiatives to provide better opportunities for students across the state. Illinois has  joined with Jobs for the Future’s Pathways to Prosperity Network; adopted the sector model of National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium’s (NASDCTEc) Career Clusters and made it unique to the state’s industry needs; and has joined Lumina Foundation’s Goal 2025, a goal that 60 percent of the state’s population will have some form of high-quality degree or credential by 2025.  Each of these initiatives have brought in new networks and funding sources to improve the state’s academic resources and contribute to current state-led initiatives.

Program Contact
Jeanne Kitchens
Associate Director
SIU Center for Workforce Development
Phone: (217) 303-5862
Email: jkitchens@siuccwd.com

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