A New Resource for Teachers & Counselors – The Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads Essential Skills Guide

One of the most critical components of Illinois’ work around the College and Career Pathways are the Cross-Sector Essential Employability Skills (See page 6 of the Illinois CCPE Competencies Guide). Referred to as the “Essential Skills” in shorthand and commonly referred to as “soft skills” in the business community, these competencies are critical for all of our students across all Career Pathways. Additionally, through a year’s worth of Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads episodes, we’ve found that the Essential Skills are a consistent and detailed component of each interview. 

To help teachers, counselors, and others incorporate the Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads episodes as another instructional resource in their classrooms, we are in the process of developing The Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads Essential Skills Guide. While the content is up-to-date in this draft mapping of the Essential Skills across the Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads episodes, we are still working to develop a finalized web solution. Knowing that both school leaders and teachers will begin planning instruction for the 2021-2022 school year over the summer, we wanted to share this resource now, even in its current work-in-progress form. 

May 2021

Announcing a New Partner – Illinois P-20 Network & Midwest Principals’ Center

Midwest Principals’ Center

For decades, Midwest Principals’ Center has brought together school leaders to learn with one another and from experts in topics ranging from curriculum and instruction to school law. Midwest Principals’ Center provides a wide range of learning opportunities each year, from bringing the most well-respected and in-demand speakers to local audiences to ongoing learning opportunities such as their Legal Breakfasts.

Now, the Illinois P-20 Network is proud to partner with Midwest Principals’ Center. As part of this partnership, Midwest Principals’ Center will promote the Illinois P-20 Network’s College and Career Readiness series of Administrator Academy workshops, which will allow even more school leaders to learn about these critical topics. Additionally, like the aforementioned Legal Breakfasts, the Illinois P-20 Network will offer a series of online introductory presentations on key College and Career Readiness topics for school leaders of all levels. These presentations will be free to all Midwest Principals’ Center members.

If your organization is not already a member of the Midwest Principals’ Center (MPC), learn more about MPC organizational or individual membership

May 2021

Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads – Trishna Singh and Octave Rouege – Business Analysts

Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads logo

Since students cannot be engaging in face-to-face or on-site work-based learning experiences, we’re bringing people from a wide range of occupations to students remotely. These videos will allow students to learn about their work, the skills that are most important in their work, and to benefit from the advice that these professionals have to offer students.


In this Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads episode, Trishna Singh and Octave Rouege, both Senior Contract Analysts at Premier Inc, a healthcare technology company, share information about their careers and the workplace. With Trishna’s background in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, and Octave’s background in Marketing and Accounting, they provide great examples of the very different paths one can follow into this career as well as providing insightful examples of the essential skills necessary for success. Trishna studied at Emory University, and Octave earned degrees at the University of Southern Mississippi and Lakeland University.

In their roles as Business Analysts, they combine both clinical and purchasing data to help health systems make the best choices both in terms of medical purchases and general maintenance of the facility. While Trishna and Octave have very different academic backgrounds, the fact that they are doing the same job is proof that the essential skills are the foundation for landing any type of job and excelling at the position.  

Trishna and Octave’s work as Business Analysts is part of both the Health Sciences and Technology Career Pathway and the Finance and Business Services Career Pathway.  

In this video, Octave and Trishna share how their interest in health care and helping communities around them has contributed to making them successful in this role. They also talk about the importance of being willing to learn and understanding what a job entails before taking up a position. Both guests emphasize that being detail-oriented, having the ability to delegate when necessary, being able to communicate effectively with others, and adapting to a wide variety of different situations are critical to having a successful career in data analysis. Trishna stresses the need to be able to advocate for yourself and having basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel as crucial for getting an internship position in the world of data analysis. She also encourages students who are interested in working in a role like theirs to explore learning about data tools such as spreadsheets, to apply for internships, and to volunteer in hospitals or healthcare systems around their communities. Octave encourages students to shadow a professional in the position they aspire to hold as this will help paint a clear picture of what the role entails and what one will need to do in order to be successful.

Watch this Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads video with Business Analysts Trishna Singh and Octave Rouege.

To keep up-to-date as new Career Pathways Virtual Trailheads videos are released:

April 2021