- Since 2014, the number of students enrolled in the Delaware Pathways program has grown from just 27 to 9,000, leading experts to hold the state up as an example of how to prepare students for the workforce, Delaware Online reports.
- Pathways blends academics with industry knowledge in areas like manufacturing, computer science, finance and hospitality management, giving students opportunities to earn credentials, college credits and internships while still in high school.
- As part of a case study focusing on promising efforts in college and career readiness, Jobs for the Future says Delaware has “much to show the rest of the nation.”
Career and technical education (CTE) programs are no longer considered options for students who are viewed as unlikely to attend college. Instead, they have become an effective strategy for showing students how what they are learning in their core academic courses applies in multiple career fields. The internships, industry certifications and apprenticeship opportunities made possible through CTE programs are also giving high school graduates ways to get initial experience in a particular field even as they continue working toward a two- or four-year degree.
The case study on Delaware points to a few key elements of the state’s Pathways program. For example, the initiative begins in 7th grade, not waiting until students are in high school. There are lead partners responsible for specific aspects of the plan, such as Delaware Technical Community College, which helps to form connections between educators and employers, and the Delaware Workforce Development Board, which helps to build support for youth employment. State education officials also worked with higher education leaders to analyze labor market data and identify which career fields would make the most sense for the Pathways initiative.