Career Pathways

In Colorado, industry-driven, competency-based career pathways ensure that education, training, and workforce systems stay attuned and responsive to the needs of the labor market in order to:

  • Ensure businesses have access to appropriately skilled talent pipeline. 
  • Prepare students and workers with the skills and credentials they need for jobs and careers.

Each year the CWDC adds career pathway information to My Colorado Journey

Recent Activities

Energy Career Pathways Added to My Colorado Journey

The CWDC added career pathways in the energy industry to My Colorado Journey in June 2021. The energy pathways include opportunities in utilities generation, utilities transmission and distribution, renewables, oil and gas production and operation, and oil and gas distribution. Learn more and view energy career pathways.

Refresh of IT & Cybersecurity Career Pathways

In June 2021, the CWDC refreshed the IT and cybersecurity pathways to ensure they are up-to-date and responsive to the needs of industry. Through this process, four new occupations were added to the IT pathways: data scientist, blockchain engineer, GIS tech, and web and digital interface designer. Learn more and explore IT career pathways and cybersecurity career pathways

Definitions & Resources

Career Pathway Programs

A career pathway program offers a clear sequence of stackable credits and credentials, combined with support services, which enables students and job-seekers to secure industry-relevant skills, certifications, and credentials and advance to higher levels of education and employment in high-demand occupations.  

Career Pathway System

A career pathway system is made up of multiple career pathway programs that span educational institutions, workforce, and support service partners. A career pathway system aligns public partners and engages them in a continuous conversation that is led by industry to ensure that job seekers and students move seamlessly through and among support programs, educational institutions, training opportunities, and work-based experiences to build skills and credentials that meet industry demand and prepare them for jobs and careers.

Competency-based Hiring, Education, and Training

Colorado is facing a skills gap that, if unaddressed, will diminish the ability of the economy to grow and limit the upward mobility of individuals throughout the state. Shifting our talent development network to embrace a competency-based approach to hiring, education, and training has been identified as a key strategy to address this gap and keep Colorado’s economy and its citizens moving forward. A competency-based approach is necessary because skills are the best predictor of a successful hiring outcome and competency-based models expand access to education opportunities beyond high school. 


Building Industry-Driven Career Pathway Systems in Colorado: Step by Step Guide. 

Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development: Toolkit for state partners developing WIOA Unified Plan. 

Career Pathways: Catalog of Toolkits: List of toolkits to help career pathways initiative stakeholders.

CDE Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Pathways Resources: Information and state guidance to advance PWR

CDLE Apprenticeships: Information on apprenticeships. 

Colorado Labor Market Information: Colorado Labor Market Information. 

Colorado Talent Dashboard: Understand needs of the labor market.

Colorado Talent Pipeline Report: Annual report with current labor trends. 

Competency Model Clearinghouse: Detailed competency models.  

Connecting Colorado: Job seekers can find job postings. 

CTE Secondary Pathways:  Colorado Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways and information for secondary program areas.

CTE Career Clusters: Career clusters for Colorado Career and Technical Education (CTE).

ICAP Toolkit: Individual Career and Academic Plan.

My Colorado Journey: Comprehensive career, postsecondary, job, financial aid and literacy exploration and planning.

Stakeholder Guidebook: A guidebook with step-by-step guidance for creating local and regional initiatives around demand-driven evidence-based career pathways.

The Power and Promise of Pathways, Hans Meeder: Comprehensive look at pathways. 



Learn more about upskilling efforts taking place in Colorado through the Lives Empowered initiative.

 Lives Empowered

My Colorado Journey

The My Colorado Journey platform includes career pathways that help visitors learn more about careers in Colorado’s growing industries. Students and job seekers can explore in-demand careers and the required education, training, and skills needed for those careers.

 Explore Career Pathways

Interactive, regional career pathways modules exist for 11 industries:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Behavioral Health
  • Business Operations
  • Construction
  • Cybersecurity
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Public Health
  • Retail

Career Pathway System Building

Colorado Approach

To prepare, publish, and implement career pathways, the CWDC takes a three year approach:

Year 1 - Sector Development

Year 2 - Career Pathways Systems Development

Year 3 - Career Pathways Program Development and Outreach

Sector Development

Organize public partners and businesses through sector strategies to prioritize industry needs and identify critical occupations, knowledge, skills, and abilities in the chosen occupation field.

System Development

CWDC office staff build out the career pathways and publish the information on Careers in Colorado. Pathways are vetted with industry partners to ensure they are responsive to the needs of business.

Program Development & Outreach

Work with public partners to develop education and training programs along the career pathway to enable students and job seekers to secure industry-relevant skills, certifications, and credentials that will help them advance to higher levels of education and employment along the pathway.

How Do I Build Career Pathways?

The CWDC released the Building Industry-Driven Career Pathway Systems in Colorado Step-by-Step Guide in the fall of 2016. This guide outlines a step-by-step approach to building industry-driven career pathway systems that align education and training programs with the needs of the regional economy to ensure that students and job seekers are prepared the right skills and experiences to get jobs in the driving sectors of their local economies. This guide is designed for workforce boards, educational institutions, and employers seeking to build a career pathway system for their community.

To view this guide and other career pathway building resources, check out our career pathways resources.