Monday, April 8th, hundreds of employers, educators, school administrators, school counselors, parents and guardians, community-based organizations, legislators and policy makers came together in Dover, Delaware, to learn more about the steps the state is collectively taking to prepare all youth for career success. The 5th Annual Delaware Pathways Conference allowed students currently enrolled in a Pathways program to tell their stories, both through student speakers throughout the event, and in the Pathways Experience expo hall.
16 of the state’s 23 Pathways were on display, and conference attendees interacted with teams of students and educators from across the state, who were ready to answer questions about their work, what Delaware Pathways has meant to them and share their first-hand experiences. Currently, there are over 12,000 young Delawareans enrolled across 19 different pathway programs in 42 participating high schools. In the 2019-2020 school year, Delaware Pathways will expand further, bringing existing pathways to additional schools and developing further pathways in additional sectors such as digital communications, healthcare, and business information.
The conference plenary featured speakers Kyle Hartung of JFF, who spoke about the Future of Work, and Dr. Sarah Brown of Know Thyself Guides, who spoke on How to be the Coach that Every Child Needs. 10 unique breakout sessions offered participants the opportunity to follow the follow conference tracks:
- TRACK 1 – Everything You Want to Know About Delaware Pathways
- Intended for participants who are new to Delaware Pathways. This conference track will provide background on the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of career pathways. It starts with a look at Delaware’s economy and how we can reimagine our preparation model for youth as they prepare to enter continuing education and the workforce.
- TRACK 2 – Engaging Employers to Prepare our Future Workforce
- The nature of work is changing rapidly, and as employers seek to stay competitive they are looking ahead to develop the next generation of talent by building partnerships within the community. This conference track starts by exploring the newly-formed Industry Councils which act as a convening body for partnering schools and employers to discuss labor market trends and ways in which work-based learning opportunities can be expanding within an industry sector.
- TRACK 3 – Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success
- Geared towards school counselors and educators, this conference track highlights the opportunities available to students in Delaware. It also explores how we can support students and their families to discuss career interests, postsecondary training and education, as well as how to build a career plan.
- TRACK 4 – Ensuring Equitable Access to Delaware Pathways
- Central to Delaware Pathways is the goal of providing youth with enriching educational opportunities that foster growth and identity so that they can garner the skills, knowledge, and experiences necessary to become contributing citizens. This conference track explores initiatives and approaches designed to increase student equity by understanding and eliminating the systemic barriers that exist within our education and workforce development systems.
Delaware Pathways is an initiative made possible by a unique collaboration between school districts, businesses, higher education, and national advisory partners that represent a new way to do school. Students who enroll develop needed skills, get real work experience, earn college credit at no cost to their families, and gain industry-recognized credentials that prepare them for postsecondary education or employment when they graduate.
Delaware Pathways was recently named a leader in expanding access to work-based learning for learners with disabilities through the new pilot program – PIPEline to Career Success, in the New Skills for Youth 2018 Snapshots from Advance CTE.
More information on Delaware Pathways can be found at www.delawarepathways.org