What It Is
- An intermediary is an organization (or a collaboration of several organizations) that supports the effective and efficient design and implementation of pathways by supporting the development and sustainability of cross-sector partnerships.
- Intermediaries are transparent, credible organizations that foster a shared vision and goals for pathways. They convene and build relationships with and among key stakeholders and support cross-sector partnerships in providing high-quality services to students.
- Intermediaries often provide additional staffing, infrastructure, and capacity to support pathway systems and work-based learning.
Why It Matters
- Intermediaries bridge systems and unite cross-sector stakeholders around a shared vision to ensure that pathway systems meet the needs and goals of all stakeholders. They also help system leaders leverage—and avoid duplicating—existing efforts and partnerships.
- Intermediaries provide the operational and staff support required to scale pathways.
- Intermediaries play a critical role in ensuring that pathway systems are equitable. They motivate system leaders to identify, acknowledge, and dismantle inequitable structural and systemic barriers.
What It Looks Like
- Intermediaries engage and convene cross-sector leaders around a shared pathways agenda. They organize a partnership of stakeholder representatives responsible for strategic planning and leadership, including the development of the vision, goals, and design for a pathway system.
- Intermediaries transform vision into action plans and help partners to operationalize pathways work.
- Intermediaries lead the development of work-based learning delivery systems. They collaborate with educational institutions and employers to develop work-based learning sequences and structures. They also engage key employers, employer associations, and sector organizations to identify, aggregate, and broker work-based learning opportunities at scale.
- Intermediaries recruit industry, nonprofit, and public employers and work to ensure that participating leaders understand and support the vision.
What Role Partners Play
- Intermediaries connect and convene regional teams of cross-sector stakeholders and provide leadership to help them develop a shared vision and goals for pathways. They also guide teams to evaluate the success of pathways, plan for continuous improvement, and create sustainability plans.
- All other partners, including employers and secondary and postsecondary educators, contribute time, resources, and expertise to the design and implementation of pathway systems.
Report/Research How Intermediaries Can Help Black and Latinx Youth Develop a Strong Occupational Identity: Four Principles of Practice
This resource provides four guiding principles that intermediary staff and leaders can use to support equitable career outcomes for youth—particularly Black and Latinx youth and young people who are experiencing poverty. Intermediary organizations—sometimes known as…December 9, 2020
Report/Research Intermediary Functions and Features in Pathways Systems
This resource clarifies the roles intermediaries play in college and career pathways systems. It can be useful for envisioning a brand-new organization or strengthening the intermediary functions of an existing organization. Your organization can use…November 12, 2020
Tool Planning Tool for Building Equitable Pathways
This planning tool will allow your organization to plan, partner, and do the work necessary to become a more effective intermediary in your unique context. Intermediary organizations are critical to offering college and career pathways…October 6, 2020
Report/Research From Labor Market Information to Pathways Designs: Foundational Information for Intermediaries
This resource is designed to help intermediaries effectively design strong college and career pathways. It lays out key areas and provides guidance about and examples of how to distill this information in order to share…January 12, 2021
Post JFF WBL Bookshelf: Intermediaries
Our favorite resources on work-based learning for intermediaries from across the field. Our favorite resources on work-based learning for intermediaries from across the field. Visit JFF's Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning JFF’s bookshelf pulls…May 31, 2020
Report/Research Intermediary Communications: How to Stand Out While Working Together
Developed by Mission Minded in partnership with JFF and the Building Equitable Pathways partners, this guide provides intermediaries with best practices in communications along with tools and sample messages to help them stand out and…January 5, 2021