5 Key Elements

The future of work requires us to learn and demonstrate new skills many times over. As career paths and industries evolve, workers must integrate new skills into changing roles or transition into entirely new fields. To meet that need, this learner-centered ecosystem provides for a continuous cycle of learning and earning throughout our entire working lives.


As learners navigate career transitions, they must take stock of where they’ve been and determine how their skills and experience fit with future opportunities. With navigation, learners can evaluate existing skills and potential careers and plan a path to reach their goals.

Wraparound Supports

Working learners need comprehensive support — including mentorship, peer networks, and assistance securing essentials like child care, food, housing, and transportation — to overcome hurdles, manage commitments, and foster success.

Targeted Education

Education isn’t linear and it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different approaches — degree programs, certificates, skills training — are valuable at different stages of lives and careers. Targeted programs are designed for working learners, offering flexible, affordable training in the right skills at the right times.

Integrated Earning and Learning

A significant challenge for many learners is balancing education with the need to work full-time to support themselves and their families. Stepping away from the workforce to pursue additional education is an unrealistic expectation. Integrated earning and learning will make advancement achievable by offering access to funding support, work-based learning, and, ideally, more portable benefits.

Transparent Hiring

Education is only part of a worker’s qualifications. Yet without it, even experienced workers can be prematurely screened out of consideration. With transparent hiring, workers can demonstrate the skills they have and tie them to skills employers need, creating a better match for job seekers and employers.

Ecosystem Enablers: Interoperable Data and Systems

To create seamless education-to-employment pathways, a learner-centered ecosystem must be rooted in a robust and interoperable data and systems infrastructure. Diverse stakeholders across the ecosystem must identify new ways to collaborate, integrate, and share data, insights, and resources.