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Career Pathways

Implementing career pathways is a modern approach to align school program offerings to the skill needs of key industries in Vermont’s economy. This allignment ensures students can access the education and training they need to obtain and advance in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers in their home state.

Components and Characteristics of Career Pathways

Act 189 of 2018 defines Career Pathways as a “combination of rigorous and high-quality educational, training, and other experiences and services, beginning not later than seventh grade.” More generally, a career pathway is "a sequence of learning experiences that span secondary and postsecondary systems, blend rigorous core academic and career technical instruction, offer focused career guidance and advisement systems, include high-quality work-based learning experiences, and culminate in postsecondary or industry credentials of value” (Advance CTE)

Career Pathways in Vermont:

  • Are developed in partnership with business and industry
  • At the secondary level, integrates the academic and technical skills required for postsecondary success
  • Align school programs with the skill needs of industries in the local, regional, and Vermont economies
  • Prepare an individual to transition seamlessly from secondary to postsecondary or adult technical education experiences
  • Prepare students for a successful postsecondary education, including postsecondary degrees (e.g., associates or bachelor’s degrees), or job-related education (e.g., registered apprenticeships)
  • Includes career counseling as critical support to students in achieving their educational and career goals
  • Provide work-based learning opportunities to articulate and enhance skills learned in the classroom and at the workplace
  • Organize educational, training, and other experiences and services, with multiple entry and exit points along a training progression, to meet the particular needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent practicable
  • Prepare an individual to enter, or to advance within, a specific occupation or occupational cluster

The Agency of Education is in the process of implementing a Career Pathways system and career pathways programs in Regional Technical Centers, high schools and middle schools to start not later than 7th grade (Act 189 of 2018).

Career Pathways are being implemented in articulation with colleges and universities in the State of Vermont. Our work currently focuses on the implementation of career pathways in Advanced Manufacturing, Cybersecurity, Construction and Health Science. Courses in the Advanced Manufacturing and Cybersecurity career pathways will start as early as 2020.

Advanced Manufacturing

This career pathway will help students to build careers in a key economy sector in Vermont.

Manufacturing companies in Vermont, as well as state colleges, and regional technical centers have been working together with the Career Pathways team at the Agency of Education towards the definition of the skills that are needed for an entry-level job students can apply to.  Students with those skills will also be able to apply for college degrees or non-degree options at the postsecondary level.

Why is this important? Because through a collaboration among all stakeholders, the advanced manufacturing career pathway defines the content to teach students, as well as the different on-off ramps relevant for jobs in the manufacturing sector. That is why we want to make sure we develop the technical, academic, and employability skills that manufacturers in Vermont have identified as critical for an entry-level job.

About the Manufacturing Sector

What is the information you, as student, teacher, parent, employer, or interested person, need to know about the manufacturing industry? Here are some important facts and information to keep in mind:

  • Nationally, the manufacturing sector employs around 13 million people (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Aerospace and pharmaceutical manufacturing are the top subsectors in terms of job growth as of 2018 (National Association of Manufacturers)
  • However, between 2018 and 2028 there may be an estimated 2.4 million positions, nationally, that will be unfilled in the manufacturing industry due to people lacking the needed skills (skills gap) (Deloitte & Manufacturing Institute).  That is a reality the advanced manufacturing career pathway will help address.  It represents a great opportunity for all of our students.
  • Manufacturing jobs pay a family-sustaining wage. In 2017, the average annual salary was $65,130.13 in Vermont (National Association of Manufacturers).

Manufacturing in Vermont

  • In Vermont there are approximately 1,200 manufacturers.
  • Out of that total, 71% are located in 11 counties, all of them outside of the region covered by the Grand Isle, Franklin, and Chittenden counties (
  • In Vermont, every 1 manufacturing job supports an additional 1.6 jobs.
  • Manufacturing production represents 11.1% of Vermont’s gross domestic product (
  • Half of all Vermont counties have at least 25% of their manufacturing workforce employed in advanced sectors (


IGNITE is a modern curriculum in Advanced Manufacturing. A brochure outlining the IGNITE curriculum can be found here.

Read more about the IGNITE curriculum and content.  


Every business needs cybersecurity professionals. Cities, hospitals, manufacturers, construction companies, banks, schools, government, businesses big and small, and more—they all need a cybersecurity professional; they all have data, information, and systems to protect.

Jobs in cybersecurity are not restricted to “tech support” companies. 

As we make progress in technology creation and development, so do the risks we face as business, government or families. Students in the career pathway in cybersecurity will develop the skills they need to protect our information, public and private, in any setting, and to protect people.

About the Cybersecurity Sector

  • Nationally, there are 504,316 job openings and over 997,058 people employed in the cybersecurity industry (CyberSeek).
  • In Vermont there are currently more than 628 job openings in cybersecurity listed through September 2019, and the sector is rapidly growing.
  • The cybersecurity workforce supply/demand ratio in Vermont is 2.8, meaning supply of qualified employees is very low (CyberSeek)
  • Top cybersecurity jobs include Cyber Security Engineer, Cyber Security Analyst and Network Engineer / Architect (Cybersecurity Ventures)



The content of the career pathway in cybersecurity is aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education(NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, a national-focused resource that categorizes and describes cybersecurity work (NICE). This framework is an important tool to understand the cybersecurity work categories (seven in total), the specialty areas, and the 50 work roles in cybersecurity.  It helps understand the different options students have, and identifies what the knowledge, skills, and abilities are that relate to those work roles. 

Download a poster of the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework here.

You can find more information on the NICE Framework here

The Pillars of Cybersecurity

Guiding our career pathway in cybersecurity are pillars, or content areas that are considered minimum requirements.  They are systems, networking, coding, and information security.  Overlapping those categories is ethics. The role of those pillars is to ensure our students are prepared to take on any of the work roles in Cybersecurity, in any of the business areas or public service. Vermont: Cybersecurity Career Pathway Framework

NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference
The NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference seeks to Promote and increase K12 cybersecurity education programs. This year’s conference will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, December 7-8, 2020.  Please consider submitting proposals, and attending the conference.

Cybersecurity and Computer Science

Are they the same? If not, what are the differences?  No, they are not the same, and their objectives are different from those for cybersecurity.  They overlap in some aspects, but there is a uniqueness to each one.  “Cybersecurity is a computing-based discipline involving technology, people, information, and processes to enable assured operations in the context of adversaries. It draws from the foundational fields of information security and information assurance” (CSEC).

Job Data and Pathways Information

There are several sources of information about job classifications, data, and related information in cybersecurity. Here are some of them.  We will continuously update this page with more information.


For more information on Career Pathways, contact Ruth Durkee at or (802) 828-1078