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A career pathway is a series of articulated educational and training programs and services that enables students, often while they are working, to advance over time to successively higher levels of education and employment in a given industry or occupational sector.

In the Career Pathways framework, occupations are organized into 16 distinct career clusters based on common occupational skill-sets and related knowledge-bases. Each career cluster branches into one or more career pathways that map out a program of study. A program of study includes training and opportunities for continuous education that prepares students for a range of high-opportunity jobs within an occupation.