State-level Career Readiness Standards: For this website, career readiness standards are defined as a set of published, promoted standards describing the skills and competencies that students need to learn and possess for entry into and success in the workplace. These standards may or may not be assessed by the state but exist as guidance for educators and expectations for students.

State-level Work-based Learning (WBL) Framework: Most states have some sort of guidance related to work-based learning, but they lack a coherent framework for how WBL fits into the state’s education system. For the purpose of this website, a “framework” is more comprehensive than a guide and includes the following three components: 1) a definition of WBL with described activities and expectations, 2) clear expectations of WBL elements for educators and employers, and 3) clear indicators for assessing the quality of WBL programs.

Career/Workforce Readiness Graduation Requirements: While related to readiness standards, graduation requirements are typically measurable indicators that can be collected and evaluated by states. While many states have such requirements, they can be diverse in terms of type and quality. For the purpose of this website, “requirements” means any indicator associated with career readiness that the state collects and evaluates.

Robust Set of Graduation Requirements: At a minimum, graduation requirements should meet or exceed what is required for admission to the state’s public university system. Achieve recommends this include at least three years of challenging mathematics and four years of CCR-aligned English. Beyond those minimum requirements, a robust set of graduation requirements would include some combination of the following:

  • State attempts to have diploma reflect a more ‘well-rounded’ education that could include: life skills courses, financial literacy, online learning, business and communications, or civic engagement.
  • State’s graduation requirements provide different pathways to the diploma, recognizing that students may take different paths based on their interests, talents, and preparation, and schools may provide different programs based on their unique approach to instruction, school culture, and parent/student interests.
    • E.g. state may provide a college-ready and a career-ready diploma, a service-pathway diploma, etc.
  • For pathways that involve career education, state requires at least three or more courses in the same CTE field or completion with an industry certification or credential.
  • State requires each student to complete at least one semester of work-based learning experience, internship or externship, or early-college / dual-enrollment coursework.
  • State recognizes and awards credit for work-based learning experiences, internships and externships, and early-college / dual-enrollment course completion.


Data Collection: In partnership with Insightful Education Solutions, the landscape analysis was conducted primarily through desk research of publicly available guidance and standards found on state agency websites. For each state and territory, we identified the appropriate agency overseeing and providing guidance for career readiness, work-based learning, and K-12 graduation requirements. For graduation requirements and assessed metrics, we also examined relevant federal and state plans (e.g., Every Student Succeeds Act) to determine whether states measured and collected specific indicators – or used them as part of school accountability plans.

The objective of the Durable Skills initiative is to ensure that our K-12 education system is preparing students with the full range of skills they need to be successful in their careers. As such, the analyses supporting this website drew solely from sources related to each state’s education system. Some states may provide additional guidance and resources related to career-ready standards and work-based learning through other agencies and systems; if there is not a connection with the state’s education system, however, through formal linkages and adoption of policies and practices, then America Succeeds’ view is that superintendents, school leaders, and educators are unlikely to incorporate these resources – even if related to Durable Skills – into schools and classrooms, thereby missing the opportunity to impact students meaningfully.

Durable Skills Data: Lightcast’s (formerly known as Emsi Burning Glass) job-postings data are gathered by scraping over 100,000 websites, including company career sites, national and local job boards, and job posting aggregators. Postings for over 1.5 million companies are scraped and deduplicated to account for multiple postings of the same job on different websites. Job postings (from 2019-2020 and 2020-2021) were analyzed to assess the prevalence of Durable Skills at both the national and state level. Results are presented in aggregate and also broken out by competency, occupation, and industry.