Jan 15, 2020
Condition of Career Pathway Readiness in the United States 2019
ACT Policy and Research report that highlights the levels of career pathway readiness benchmarks for various careers.
The Condition of Career Readiness in the United States
What’s Important for Success in Future Jobs?
Navigating the landscape of career exploration can be daunting, especially for high school students or adult learners who know what skills they have, but may not know how those skills relate to various career paths. New research from ACT, The Condition of Career Readiness in the United States 2019, can aid career navigation for counselors, students, or individuals looking for a job change. The report uses data from WorkKeys testers and offers empirical benchmarks of career readiness for 16 different career clusters.
Highlights From This Year’s Report
- Achieving a score of Level 5 or higher on each of the three WorkKeys NCRC assessments is associated with being qualified for almost all jobs in the US.
- Overall average wages for jobs in the US increase with higher foundational skill levels.
- Career pathway readiness benchmarks (provided for 16 career clusters) can help students to explore careers and teachers to align programs with skills demanded by employers.
Using the Data
Use this report to help high school students and adults understand their career options based on their skills and determine the types of jobs available to them.
Use this dashboard to navigate career opportunities, including future job openings and salary information, alongside the benchmarks for each of the top occupation openings.
Measuring Career Readiness in the United States
The skills measured by the ACT WorkKeys Assessments, specifically Workplace Documents, Applied Math, and Graphic Literacy, have been consistently identified as important for success in a broad range of jobs, making them “essential” foundational skills for career readiness.
Career Readiness Benchmarks
Career readiness benchmarks for the three WorkKeys assessments—Workplace Documents, Applied Math, and Graphic Literacy—were determined by the percentage of jobs in the US for which an examinee is qualified based on WorkKeys level scores.
Meeting a career readiness benchmark score of Level 5 or higher on each of the three WorkKeys assessments is associated with being qualified for almost all jobs in the US. Overall average wages for jobs in the US increase with higher foundational skill levels.
Cumulative Percentage of Jobs in the US for Which an Examinee is Qualified Based on WorkKeys
|Skill Level||Applied Math||Workplace Documents||Graphic Literacy|
Source: ACT Occupational Profiles
Career Readiness – knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) and level of KSAOs needed to succeed in a typical job at a typical organization
Career Pathway Readiness – KSAOs and level of KSAOs needed to succeed in a typical job within a career pathway
Work Readiness – KSAOs and level of KSAOs needed to succeed in a specific job at a specific organization
Policies and Practices to Increase Career Readiness
Help students and job seekers prepare to enter the workforce with these recommendations:
- Use career readiness and career pathway readiness benchmarks to set goals for students and programs
- Value college readiness and career readiness equally
- Encourage career awareness and advisement activities to begin earlier in a student’s educational pathway
- Offer authentic work-based learning experiences and training in state education policies and programs
- Recognize the importance of foundational and nonacademic behaviors along with an individual’s academic and technical skills in state education policies and programs
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