Career Pathways Initiative



Ramsey County, MN


In February 2007, Minnesota formalized their Career Pathways planning with a grant from the Joyce Foundation. As one of six states included in the Shifting Gears Initiative, Minnesota used this grant as a springboard for implementing systemic changes in the partnerships between the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Adult Basic Education, Department of Human Services, and other state agencies. As a result of the planning efforts, the team pulled together additional funding sources and launched FastTRAC (Training, Resources, and Credentialing) Initiative aimed at helping low-income individuals obtain post-secondary credentials. While FastTRAC is primarily focused on systems change, it provides a foundation to build upon for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Pathways out of Poverty grant.


Goals for the upcoming year include:

  • Creating a process to ensure that FastTRAC models are demand-driven with significant employer involvement.
  • Establishing communication, roles and collaboration with the Ramsey County Medical Careers Pathway partners in order to identify and resolve challenges to integrated programming.
  • Developing a model for the functions and interactions of the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) and the Central Point of Contact (CPC) that works with students supports and soft skill development.
  • Defining accurate budget guidelines that allow for collaboration, curriculum development, co-teaching planning, facilitation, and resources.
  • Coordinating assessment tools that provide for appropriate guidance to the learner and meet standards of the career, curriculum, and college.


Health care, energy, and manufacturing


Minnesota brings a wealth of experience to the Career Pathways Initiative including experience with developing strong and active partnerships, referral and curriculum alignment between ABE and MnSCU, stackable credentialing for credit and non-credit programs, and policy and practice alignment among agency partners, among others.


  • Bonnie Elsey, Director of the Workforce Development Division, Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Mark Toogood, Director of Transition to Economic Stability Division, DHS
  • Linda Lade, System Director for College Transitions, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Office of the Chancellor
  • Cynthia Munca, Perkins Coordinator, North Hennepin Community College
  • Barry Shaffer, State Adult Basic Education Director
  • Brian Paulson, Program Manager, Basic Needs, Greater Twin Cities United Way
  • Anne Marie Leland, State Program Administrator, Department of Employment and Economic Development, FastTRAC Initiative
  • Judy Mortrude, State Program Administrator, Department of Employment and Economic Development, FastTRAC Initiative
  • Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Law and Social Policy


No URL provided.


Anne Marie Leland
Adult Basic Education Policy, Accountability & Workforce Ed. Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education
Phone: (651) 259-7516

Judy Mortrude
Department of Employment and Economic Development, State Program Administrator
Phone: 651-259-7638