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A Smarter Future: Helping Students Build a Career Pathway and Beyond

Sheena Carroll


Workforce development doesn’t start in the workplace, or even in higher education – at least, not in Pennsylvania. In 2019, the state became the first to develop a framework for career benchmarks, along with mandating its delivery for students in grades K-12. 

Called Future Ready PA, this actually isn’t the state’s first youth career development initiative. In 2005, PA passed the Academic Standards for Career Education and Work, which tasks school districts with preparing all their students to meet certain Career Education and Work (CEW) standards. These standards pose quite a challenge for PA school districts, a challenge that Smart Futures is well-equipped to tackle.

Smart Futures is a non-profit organization developed by technology architect and Executive Director David Mosey to provide the first statewide career youth career planning and portfolio platform system. Their website,, helps schools easily implement CEW standards within any classroom or virtually. Mosey consults regularly with the state to ensure that the platform is aligned to satisfy all compliance and reporting requirements.

Mosey recognized that too many programs over-emphasize college as the “golden ticket” to career success. This is to the detriment of many Pennsylvania students, who may better thrive in professions that require trade schools, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training. While these new career readiness requirements place pressure on school districts, it is to the overall advantage of their students.

“We help students answer important questions, like, ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘How do I get there?’ ” said Mosey.

Additionally, Smart Futures was established to be accessible to all students. One of their major benefits is that the software is portable, which means that students can carry their data to other schools or programs throughout their education.

Smart Futures was established in 2005 with the goal of closing identified skill gaps, advocating for broader career education programming in schools, and expanding services to schools statewide. While a non-profit, the organization chooses to use a subscription model in which they sell their programing directly to schools rather than pursuing donations or grants.

This model has worked well, with subscription revenues hitting 1.25 million during the 2022-23 school year. This success has enabled the organization to expand with a technology development team, an education outreach team, and a tech support team.

“It is such a pleasure to work for Smart Futures as the Director of Education Services,” said Christina Herman. “Our education department and our tech team strive to provide educators with innovative and exceptional career education resources that will help students ‘get real’ about who they are, where they are going, and how to get there. Everything we build or redesign is done with the intention that every Smart Futures student graduates from high school with the preparation and planning needed for their career success.”

Herman isn’t the only member of the Smart Futures team with this sentiment. Fadi Alchoufete, Director of Technology, has found his 3 years at the organization to be a “breath of fresh air.”

“To collaborate with an incredible team that all share the same mission of furthering career education in Pennsylvania is both rewarding and exciting,” said Alchoufete. “In my career, I have worked in small start-ups to large corporations, but helping drive this mission is easily the most fulfilling.”

Since Smart Futures’ inception, over one million students have created a career plan, and 70,000 teachers and counselors have used to integrate CEW standards in their classrooms. 

By uniting practical knowledge and real-world applications into the educational system, Smart Futures equips students with the tools necessary to succeed in their future careers.