Delaware Pathways: A New Kind of Learning
It’s a simple question with huge significance: “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Whether your mind’s been made or you haven’t a clue, Delaware high school students have more opportunities than ever to explore fields of interest and embark on a professional path. Delaware Pathways, a member of the Pathways to Prosperity Network, offers wide-ranging, career-based programs that allow students to gain hands-on professional experience, work toward earning a college degree, and/or master skills necessary to succeed in a job immediately after graduation.
- Creates a new kind of learning. A student enrolled in Pathways receives a typical academic curriculum, alongside high-level, opportunity-based coursework to strengthen college and career readiness.
- Comprise 14 programs, concordant with high-demand job sectors, include Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Healthcare, Culinary & Hospitality, and Finance.
- Expand every year, with three new programs–Environmental Science, Nurse Assisting, and K-12 Teaching Academy–available for the 2017-18 school year.
- Provide options for students, allowing them to choose their own path among several high-need academic disciplines in Delaware’s growing economy.
- Function through collaboration among school districts, higher education, national advisory partners, and leading businesses.
Business Partnerships Take the Lead
The business community’s participation is crucial for the evolving growth of the Pathways programs. In fact, the Delaware Business Roundtable, its Education Committee, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, , and other business leaders have already made important strides–like introducing more hands-on internships in high-demand fields for students–through partnership with higher education institutions and policymakers. To best prepare students for successful careers, the business sector is committed to further aligning pathways opportunities with workforce development systems.
Delmarva Power and Exelon, for instance, are proud to share that commitment. Through a $720,000 donation over four years, the companies will partially fund the new Energy Efficiency pathway in partnership with Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC). To reflect the growing conversation around clean, safe, and affordable energy, as many as 250 new jobs in this industry could be created over the next four years, according to the Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Students enrolled in the new Energy Efficiency pathway first learn key concepts in the classroom, then advance to actually working in DTCC labs in the spring. Delmarva and Exelon are setting the bar high; it’s this type of leadership that makes DE Pathway programs meaningful for high school students.
Private and Public Grants Support New Pathways
There’s more great news. Governor Jack Markell just recently announced that, in partnership with the DBREC and Bank of America, the Delaware Department of Education has awarded $450,000 in both private and public grants to support the new high school pathway programs in Delaware. Thanks to this award, Delaware will continue to advance existing programs and launch 23 new ones–across 16 high schools–that will engage students in the three newest tracks for 2017-18.
Pathways is tightening the bond between Delaware’s public education system, postsecondary institutions, and the broader employer community. Deepening investments and partnerships will l give students the extraordinary opportunity to gain college credit and develop the professional skills that employers are seeking. The $450,000 will also back teacher training for successful implementation of coursework.
When it comes to the Pathways, the state has made impressive progress:
- Just two years ago, only a single class of 30 students got to benefit from pathways.
- Last year, almost 2,500 students got on board.
- Today, Pathway serves approximately 5,800 students across 38 high schools.
Since 2015, there’s been more than $1.5 million allocated to schools through grants to support these opportunities.
Learning doesn’t stop after high school, and Pathways is preparing students for college, career, and a lifetime of learning to come. Delaware’s high school students can hit the ground running on the right path—a path to future success.