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Pathways to Prosperity Levers: Intermediaries

October 20, 2021

Practices & Centers

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.

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Learn about the five Pathways to Prosperity Levers by clicking on the icons below.

Secondary-Postsecondary Integration

Career Navigation Systems

Work-Based Learning


Leadership and Policy