Career Pathways is a result of community colleges, employers, politicians and other organizations working together to help students in planning their careers. As part of the program, different types of courses were developed to meet the needs of the different types of students. Additionally, a Web tool called roadmap was created to visually direct students in their course of study. It began in 1999 when three community colleges began Career Pathways programs. Other community colleges followed. Then, in 2003, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Oregon community college commissioner Camille Preus started Oregon Pathways, which is an Oregon initiative. In support of Career Pathways, community college presidents in Oregon endorsed a "resolution of support" in 2006.
Career Pathways is not a one-organization effort. It is a result of several organizations coming together to offer a statewide program that helps career seekers get education and training. These organizations came up with a plan and worked together until it was a reality. Basically, this partnership was formed to make sure that every student would succeed on every level of career planning. As such, programs were created that catered to every level of career planning.
The curriculum is set up in modules. Students complete one or several modules at a time. Instead of students solely taking courses based on a major, students in Career Pathways engage in taking a set of courses that is geared toward specific professional development, a particular job, transferring to a certain university, eventual wage increase or getting a degree or certificate that leads to specific demand jobs.
The grouping of courses in Career Pathways is based on two things. First, instructors teach skills that will be needed to do a specific job according to the results of research. Secondly, these skills are geared toward a job that research has proved to be in high demand now and in the future.
Because the classes are set up in modules, you may begin or leave a degree or credential program at certain points in the class. The places that you can enter or exit a program is made clear to you as a student before starting the program. There are various points you may start, stop, or re-enter a program without getting into trouble. Career Pathways is flexible for students who often encounter unexpected life changes that hinder them from continuing their education.
Roadmaps is a web-tool that students, educators and parents can use to visually see what courses the students will take, what they will need to be competent in, the skills they will need to master and the particular degree or licenses needed for that career goal. In essence, it is made up of templates, charts, graphs and diagrams that show you what route you will need to take in order to get to the place you want to be in your career.
Brenda Sanders is an educator who has taught in many capacities for over 15 years. She recently completed her doctorate in education from George Fox University. Brenda received her MAT from Pacific University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach. She has also worked as a proofreader, editor and writer.