College and Career Readiness

What is college and career readiness?

A student who is college and career ready has the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and in the workplace. College and career readiness cannot be reduced to a single test score in English or math. It also includes skills like critical thinking, technological savvy, civic awareness and engagement, and financial literacy. (Check out a more comprehensive list here.) College- and career-ready students are prepared to start college without having to enroll in costly remedial courses and to find skilled positions that offer financial security and room to grow professionally.

Why does it matter?

Education is more important than ever before. Eight out of ten Illinois employers say they need employees with some postsecondary education, so we can’t afford to think of our students’ futures in terms of “college or career readiness,” but rather “college and career readiness.” Today all high school graduates need to be prepared for some postsecondary education and/or training if they are going to have options and opportunities in the job market.

What is Advance Illinois doing?

  • We have served on and facilitated meetings of the P-20 Council’s Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Subcommittee, which brought together educators and employers from across the state to author a report on how to best move Illinois toward its goal of 60 percent of residents with high-quality degrees or certificates by 2025.
  • We have worked with the Office of Education System Innovation (OESI) at Northern Illinois University and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to communicate to parents and communities about the benefits of Illinois Pathways programs. It provide students with the skills and experiences that will prepare them for success in college and careers and spur community economic development by fostering a homegrown talent pipeline in growing fields.
  • We have worked closely with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and OESI to create an emerging network of communities committed to the goal of ensuring that 60 percent of adults have a college or career credential by 2025. Participants in the Illinois 60 by 25 Network are working to provide rigorous academics in engaging, real-world learning environments that inspire students to imagine and achieve brighter futures for themselves and their communities.
  • We supported HB 5729, the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act, which was signed into law in July, 2016.



The Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act was signed into law in July, 2016. This fact sheet outlines the highlights of this legislation.

Achieve’s Making Career Readiness Count brief proposes an expanded framework for college- and career-ready indicators that better incorporates indicators focused on career preparation.

The Education Committee of the States’ Blueprint for College Readiness is a 50-state analysis that explores the extent to which states are pursuing policies to support student enrollment in postsecondary education.

Complete College America is a national nonprofit that works to increase the number of Americans with career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for diverse populations.

Where Illinois Stands Today
on the Steps to Readiness...

Where Illinois Needs to Go By 2025, Illinois aims to ensure 60% of adults
attain a postsecondary credential.