Learning for Careers: The Pathways to Prosperity Network

Learning for Careers: The Pathways to Prosperity Network
Learning for Careers: The Pathways to Prosperity Network

Forum Materials

Presentation Slideshow
Forum Summary Brief 

Forum Resources

Forum Overview

In 2012, Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), in collaboration with states and regions across the country, launched the Pathways to Prosperity Network to reimagine how the education system – from K-12 through college – partners with employers and prepares youth for postsecondary success.

A new book, Learning for Careers: The Pathways to Prosperity Network, by Network co-founders Nancy Hoffman of JFF and Robert Schwartz of HGSE summarizes this growing multistate initiative that seeks to ensure many more young people complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with labor market value, and launch into a career. Stakeholders across education, business, and government lead the work in each Pathways to Prosperity state or region, with the long-term goal of creating statewide systems of career pathways spanning grades 9-14. Key sectors of the economy identified for building career pathways include STEM fields such as information technology, health care, and advanced manufacturing.

This forum explored main themes from the book, highlighted how key actors in Delaware, a Pathways to Prosperity state, worked together to develop and implement a coherent strategic career pathways plan, and discussed how Delaware state leadership and prominent organizations also played a critical role. Specifically, speakers shared insights about how two education institutions and the employer community came together to create meaningful career pathways that cut across secondary and postsecondary education and are linked to growth areas in the state’s economy.

Remarks from Senator Chris Coons: 

Panelist Biographies

Dr. Mark T. Brainard
President, Delaware Technical Community College

Dr. Mark T. Brainard, a proud graduate of Delaware Tech, was appointed the College’s fifth president on August 4, 2014. Previously, Dr. Brainard spent over three decades in a series of executive-level leadership roles in the higher education, business, government, and legislative arenas in Delaware. One of his priorities as president is to employ his knowledge, experience, and leadership skills to ensure that today’s students continue to receive the same foundation and opportunities he received as a student of the College over three decades ago.

Throughout his career he has served as chief of staff for the House Minority Caucus in the Delaware State Legislature, director of external affairs at DelDOT, assistant vice president for human resources and legal affairs at Delaware Tech, executive vice president of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, and chief of staff for Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner.

At the end of the governor’s term, he returned to Delaware Tech and served in a number of leadership positions until he was appointed president of the College in 2014. In a short time, he has implemented a number of initiatives, including creating a collegewide culture that embraces innovation; developing a statewide program for high school students to address the manufacturing skills gap in Delaware; and establishing a variety of support programs for veterans, earning the College its “Military Friendly School” designation for three years in a row.

Dr. Brainard holds an associate degree in criminal justice from Delaware Tech, a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Wilmington University, and a juris doctor degree from Widener University Delaware Law School.

Dr. Susan Bunting
Delaware Secretary of Education

Dr. Susan Bunting, a long-time Delaware educator and former superintendent of the Indian River School District, is Delaware’s Secretary of Education.

Prior to joining Governor John Carney’s Cabinet in January 2017, Bunting led Indian River, one of the state’s largest school districts serving more than 10,000 students, for more than a decade. After teaching in Maryland for several years, she joined Indian River in 1977 as a middle school language arts teacher, later teaching gifted education. She was named Indian River’s Teacher of the Year in 1985. She served as Supervisor of Elementary Instruction then Director of Instruction before being named superintendent in 2006. Delaware’s 2012 Superintendent of the Year, she also was one of four finalists for the American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year award.

She has served on and led numerous state committees, including the DPAS II Advisory Committee, Vision 2015 Implementation Committee, Governor’s ESSA Advisory Committee and Delaware STEM Advisory Council, among many others. She also served as president of the Delaware Chief School Officer Association.

Bunting, a former adjunct faculty member at University of Delaware and Wilmington University, earned her Bachelor of Arts in K-8 education and psychology from the American University in Washington, D.C. followed by a master’s degree in education from Salisbury State University and her educational doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware.

Dr. Nancy Hoffman
Senior Advisor, Jobs for the Future

Dr. Nancy Hoffman is Senior Advisor at Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national non-profit based in Boston. Hoffman is the co-founder with Bob Schwartz of the Pathways to Prosperity State Network. The Pathways to Prosperity Network is a collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education, JFF, fourteen states, and sixty economic regions. The goal   of Pathways is to ensure that many more young people complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with currency in the labor market, and get launched on a first career leaving open the option of further education. Dr. Hoffman also led JFF’s work to develop early college high schools and expand opportunities for college-level work in high school to a wide range of students.

Hoffman’s most recent book, co-authored with Bob Schwartz, is Learning for Careers: The Pathways to Prosperity Network (Fall 2017). She is also the author of Schooling in the Workplace: How Six of the World’s Best Vocational Education Systems Prepare Young People for Jobs and Life, (2011). She is an editor of three JFF books: Double the Numbers: Increasing Postsecondary Credentials for Underrepresented Youth, Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School with College Makes Sense and How to Do It, and most recently, Anytime, Anywhere: Student-Centered Learning for Schools and Teachers, all four published by the Harvard Education Press. Dr. Hoffman is also author of Women’s True Profession: Voices from the History of Teaching, all published by Harvard Education Press.

Hoffman holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Hoffman serves on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education as well as on the board of North Bennet Street School which offers intensive, hands-on training in traditional trades and fine craftsmanship.

Robert Schwartz
Senior Research Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Bob Schwartz joined the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1996, where he has served, successively, as Lecturer, Professor of Practice, Academic Dean, Francis Keppel Professor in Educational Policy and Administration, and Senior Research Fellow. Prior to joining the HGSE faculty, Schwartz served in a variety of roles in education: high school teacher and principal; education advisor to the Mayor of Boston and the Governor of Massachusetts; Assistant Director of the National Institute of Education; Executive Director of The Boston Compact; and Education Program Director at The Pew Charitable Trusts. From 1997-2002 Schwartz served as founding President of Achieve, Inc, a non-profit organization created by governors and corporate leaders to help improve performance in US schools.

Since 2010 Schwartz has participated in two OECD studies, Learning for Jobs and Strong Performers and Successful Reformers and contributed chapters to four Harvard Education Press volumes: Teaching Talent (2010), Surpassing Shanghai (2011), The Futures of School Reform (2012), and Improving the Odds for America’s Children (2014). In 2011 he co-authored an influential report calling for more attention to career and technical education, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.   In 2012 with Nancy Hoffman from Jobs for the Future he co-founded a national network of states and regions to act upon the analysis and recommendations outlined in the Pathways report. In October 2017 Harvard Education Press published Learning for Careers, their participant/observer implementation report on the first five years of the Pathways to Prosperity Network.

Gary Stockbridge
President, Delmarva Power Region for Exelon Corporation
Pepco Holdings, Inc.

Gary R. Stockbridge is region president of Delmarva Power, an Exelon company that provides safe and reliable energy to more than 500,000 electric customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 120,000 natural gas customers in northern Delaware.

Stockbridge is the primary executive responsible for engaging with state and local officials; community leaders; and business, consumer and nonprofit organizations within the Delmarva Power region. In that capacity, he plays a critical role in shaping policy and managing issues to deliver value to our customers and key stakeholders.

Stockbridge joined the company in 1997 to run the competitive retail energy business selling electric and natural gas to customers in the Northeast. In 2000, he was promoted to vice president, Customer Care, in the regulated utility and remained in that position until 2005, when he was named president of the Delmarva Power region.

Stockbridge has more than 30 years of utility experience since he started with PECO Energy in Philadelphia. He has worked in operations, marketing, government affairs and customer care in both the regulated and competitive energy fields. He was responsible for the startup of retail energy affiliates for both Conectiv and PECO Energy.

Stockbridge received his undergraduate degree in engineering and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Stockbridge is the board president for the Workforce Investment Board in Delaware appointed by Governor Jack Markell and currently serving under Governor John Carney, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) state chair of Delaware, president of the board for United Way of Delaware, chairman of the advisory board for the Chesapeake Bay Council of the Girl Scouts, Chair of the Delaware Vision Coalition, and chairman of the advisory board for Kingswood Community Center.

He also serves as incoming Chair for the State of Delaware Chamber of Commerce, board member for the Delaware Business Roundtable, and member of Drexel University’s Energy and the Environment Council.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.