Relationships between school, work, and the life course are in flux. Twentieth-century models of human-capital development imagined that people would receive virtually all formal education and training in the first twenty years of their lives; spend the next thirty in a full-time career (whether paid or unpaid); then move into retirement. Such models are no longer tenable — if indeed they ever were. Today people in advanced industrial societies can expect to change careers at multiple points in their adult lives; receive training for new habits and skills throughout adulthood; and even live hundred-year lives.
Pathways researchers are applying computational techniques and theoretical tools developed to study academic progress to very large puzzles about how to organize relationships between education and work in the twenty-first century. How want to better understand how educators and employers can develop new ways of doing business that are efficient, enjoyable and humane for people at different life stages and in varying socio-economic situations. We also contribute to policy debates about how government can support and reward business practices that reward ambition, talent and demonstrated accomplishment rather than age or prior educational advantage.