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Illinois PaCE

Illinois PaCE: Postsecondary and
Career Expectations

The Illinois PaCE Framework was developed with extensive input gathered from stakeholders and subject matter experts to provide guidance to students, families, and educators on what types of experiences and information a student should have in order to make the most informed decision about college and career planning beginning in 8th grade and through high school. The framework is organized around three key areas:

  • Career Exploration and Development
  • Postsecondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection
  • Financial Aid and Literacy

It's recognized that high schools and communities provide a broad array of college and career readiness activities for students, but they are not always well documented and/or connected to other initiatives within a school, district, or community. The intent of the PaCE Framework is for it to be an organizing tool to help acknowledge and connect areas of success and identify those that may need additional attention or resources.

While the PaCE Framework has been adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for benchmarking college and readiness for students, there is no state mandate to use the PaCE Framework. For more information on the background on PaCE, please see the section below under History.

PaCE Support and Training

ISAC offers several PaCE support options to assist schools in understanding the IL PaCE Framework, adoption the IL PaCE Framework, or developing a customized framework to fit their needs.

Support Options

PaCE Overview

This session provides an overview of the Postsecondary Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act legislation, an in-depth explanation of the PaCE framework, the steps involved with creating and implementing your own school/district specific PaCE aligned framework, as well as PaCE support and resources available through ISAC (available in person or via webinar).

PaCE Framework Development Workshop

This workshop takes a school/district team through the creation of their own PaCE aligned framework. During the workshop, an ISAC facilitator will lead a discussion withthe team in order to build consensus and develop their own framework. Upon completion of the workshop, the school/district team will receive a formatted version of their framework from ISAC as a follow up. A school/district team is required in order to schedule a workshop.

To schedule a session, please complete the PaCE Support Request Form, and for more information about the PaCE Framework, contact

Training Options

PaCE Implementation Leader Training (PILT)

The PaCE Implementation Leader Training (PILT) will provide an in-depth perspective on the Illinois Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Framework and the implementation process for those who wish to serve as implementation leaders in their schools. Attendees of this training will be equipped to serve as PaCE Implementation Leaders in their schools or organizations. Upon completion of this one-day training, implementation leaders will have a better understanding on how to assist their schools in implementing the IL PaCE Framework, or can serve as a liaison between their school and ISAC, if the school wishes to create their own customized framework.

Registration details, including dates and locations, are available online at


For Educators, Counselors, and Advisors

The PaCE Framework is a tool for counselors, advisors, teachers and other educators to see on one document what types of experiences and information a student should have in order to make the most informed decisions about college and career planning. Organized by 8th through 12th grade, the document explains what students should be supported to do and what they should know at the end of each grade relative to the three categories outlined above.

The PaCE Framework Template is a tool for counselors, administrators, educators, and other college access professionals to create their own PaCE Framework. A school can customize the grade levels and benchmarks as well as incorporate their school logo and name into the template. Educators can customize this template to create a formal document that their school can adopt to illustrate how they will support their students to be college and career ready.

For Students, Parents and Educators

Organized around the same categories as the Framework, the PaCE Student Checklist is designed to be a simple tool to help guide students in 8th through 12th grade through the college and career planning process.  Educators, parents and students can use the checklist to see the kinds of things they can do at each grade level to better prepare for life after high school, including a list of experiences and information a student can use to explore and prepare for college and career opportunities.

For Communities

The On PaCE to Thrive Community Guide offers a process and activities for communities to cultivate college and career readiness using the PaCE Framework.

PaCE Framework History

In the Spring of 2015, the Illinois House adopted House Resolution (HR) 477, a resolution calling for the agencies participating in the Illinois Pathways Interagency Committee, which included the State Board of Education, Community College Board, Board of Higher Education, Student Assistance Commission, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Department of Employment Security, to study methods to better prepare high school graduates for success in college and/or career. That resolution led to the formation of four advisory committees focused on distinct strategy areas for improving student outcomes. More than 120 stakeholders participated in the study and consensus building work and recommendations were presented to the Illinois P-20 Council. The College and Career Readiness Committee of the P-20 council adopted the recommendations. In 2016, HB 5729 was introduced, a bill that incorporated the work of the HR477 committees and community feedback. The bill was passed and signed into law in July of 2016, and Public Act 99-0674 established the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act.