Career Pathways connect and align the steps in your pathway from education to work. Career Pathways include short-term, stackable credentials that lead to a degree and jobs in high-demand industries. 

More options give you greater flexibility as you build your education and career. No matter where you are in your career pathway, find your next steps at Madison College. 

image of a diverse group of Madison College students

The Need for Career Pathways

  • The U.S. labor force will need five million more individuals with postsecondary credentials than are projected to exist by 2020.
  • Projections indicate that 65 percent of all jobs will require education and training beyond high school.
  • 18 percent of all jobs will require college-level education and skills training of less than an associate degree.
  • Career Pathways expand options and access for all types of students. These opportunities for success in college serve to develop a skilled workforce.

Build Momentum, Confidence and Success

Madison College Career Pathways are for all students.

  • High school students who want to get a jumpstart on their post-secondary education while still in high school.
  • Current degree holders who would like to learn new skills to transition into a different career.
  • Unemployed workers who need new skills and a credential to transition into a new career field.
  • Low-wage or underemployed workers who need new skills or a degree to advance into higher-level positions.
  • Young career starters 18 or older with a high school degree or GED who are stuck in part-time or dead-end jobs and want to begin studying to launch their careers.
  • Students Benefits

    Flexible Options

    Career pathways prepare you for work or for further education. There are multiple entry and exit points to education and work.

    Accessible Choices

    Education is portioned into “doable chunks.” You can complete part of your education with a smaller up-front cost and time commitment. If you need to stop out of college, you may leave with a credential to show for your effort.

    More Success

    An earned credential builds confidence and skill. This increases the motivation to continue on to the next highest level of education.

    Better Job Opportunities

    Career specific skills training supports higher wage potential when you enter the workforce.

  • Employer Benefits

    Supported by Business and Industry

    Employers identify the skills needed in employees they want to hire. The college develops programs to teach these skills. Employers confirm the hiring demand for workers with these skills.

    Speeds the Timeline for Work Readiness

    Through short-term training options, you can quickly gain the skills to get a job. Chunked curriculum allows you to enter or return to the workforce sooner. Alternative delivery methods enable you to work while attending school.

    Increases the Number of Skilled Workers

    Students are prepared to get jobs and advance in their jobs by connecting work to training. Training is designed to fill entry-level positions in high-demand fields. More students will be able to enter education and learn the skills needed to increase our skilled workforce.

  • Build Your Path

    Some Career Pathways offer “embedded” or “stacked” credentials. Embedded credentials lead to entry-level jobs on the career path. 

    These smaller credentials can be earned as a quicker route to employment. Or you can stack more credentials to earn the larger degree that they are embedded in. This lets you gain skills by completing one credential at a time. After completing a credential, you might find a job or continue your education in the next higher credential. You might also enter the workforce for a while and later return to college for the next credential. This offers manageable steps toward better jobs.

    Embedded credentials help you to:

    • Complete an embedded credential in a shorter time frame and lesser cost than the larger program it is embedded in.
    • Earn a credential and learn skills leading to an in-demand job opportunity.
    • Build credits toward a college degree.
    • Find employment or to continue your education.
    • Raise career and earning potential with each step.

    Career Pathways at Madison College that include stacked or embedded credentials:

    Embedded or stackable credentials include the following:

    Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Pathway Certificate

    A set of courses from the first two semesters of a degree or diploma. You gain a set of skills that prepares you for entry-level employment in an occupation. The certificate is fully embedded in the larger program where all credits earned for the certificate will fully apply to the higher diploma or degree. WTCS approval requires documented employer need or industry support, as well as data showing real job opportunities at the end point of the certificate.

    Embedded Technical Diploma

    A set of courses taken from the program curriculum of a degree or diploma that provides you with skills to prepare you for employment. The diploma is fully embedded in the larger program where all credits earned for the diploma will fully apply to the higher diploma or degree. WTCS approval requires documented employer need or industry support, as well as data showing real job opportunities at the end point of the embedded technical diploma.

    Local Certificates

    Local certificates may be developed and awarded by Madison College for any program level, groups of courses or attainment of specific competencies. Local certificates may be embedded and/or stackable. Local certificates do not go through the WTCS approval process.

    Industry Credentials

    Developed and recognized by industry groups, industry organizations or regulatory agencies. Some positions require attainment of an industry credential. Where indicated on Madison College Career Pathway maps, the program prepares students for attainment of the industry credential. Outside testing, application or fees may be required.

  • Pathway Connections

    Career Pathways follows a framework. It connects and aligns the components of a Career Pathway. This offers multiple college entry and exit points for every type of student. It also increases efficiency and reduces excess credit.

    The components of a Career Pathway include:

    • High school options
    • Middle College
    • Credit for prior learning
    • Bridge programs
    • Workforce and Economic Development programs
    • Stacked embedded credentials (See Build Your Path tab for details)
    • College programs, including degrees, diplomas and certificates 
    • Articulation and transfer opportunities
    • Connections to industry certifications
    • Connections to apprenticeship opportunities (where applicable)
    • Student support services
    • Connections to employment

    While all programs can be part of a Career Pathway, not all pathways will include every component.