Career pathways are becoming an increasingly important topic and workforce strategy to federal and local governments, employers, and job seekers.

The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) received a planning grant to explore the feasibility of a career pathways strategy for low-skilled workers in the Detroit area. WIN worked to integrate a data-driven approach to career pathways and create an implementable and replicable career pathways model, while increasing outcomes-oriented collaboration among Detroit and surrounding area partners. This report is a summary of the process, findings, and recommendations of this strategic phase in career pathways. First, WIN identified national programs and projects with strong career pathways components to determine best practices and better understand outcomes. One practice, from the City University of New York and New York Labor Market Information Service, became the data-driven approach to career pathway development that WIN then undertook.

WIN chose the retail and hospitality sector—which employs the most people and represents the largest share of the GDP in the region– as the basis for this research. This industry presents many entry-level opportunities for low-skilled workers, but also provides opportunities for individuals to move both up and also across other industries to more sustainable careers and wages. WIN partnered with Monster Government Solutions, of, and studied resume data for workers in this industry to understand how they progress in their careers.

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