Del Tech president extols Pathways
At Delaware Technical Community College, we lead students to a career path by providing them with skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
Our data show that over 95 percent of our graduates are employed and approximately 55 percent of our most recent graduates are working and pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
That data is much different for students graduating from high school.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-third of high school graduates are not going immediately to college.
We know the best way to help these students prepare for the workforce is to engage them at the middle and high school levels, which is why we were founding partners in the Delaware Pathways initiative.
The program started in 2014 with 27 students pursuing advanced manufacturing certifications and has since grown to include more than 16,000 students statewide.
These students are able to explore a career path before they graduate high school, earning certificates or college credits (or both) to help them move more quickly into the workforce following graduation.
Robert Schwartz is professor emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-founder of the Pathways to Prosperity Network.
He co-authored a 2011 Harvard report that called on educators, employers, and governments to create support systems so that by the time young adults reach their early 20s, they will be equipped with the education and experience they need to be successful.
He has called Delaware “the poster child for Pathways nationally” and compared us to Switzerland, which has been working on pathways programs for hundreds of years and is considered to be a world leader in that effort.
Pathways is a critical program for our local students, and we join our Delaware business community in urging the state Legislature to include $1 million for this initiative in the budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
Without such a permanent investment from the state, Pathways will not be sustainable into the future and continue to demonstrate the success it has since 2014.
For the past three years, this key initiative has been supported by grant funding provided by JP Morgan Chase, the Delaware Business Roundtable and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
While the Pathways initiative has received millions of dollars in private investments, that private-sector funding was only meant as a short-term measure to get the program started.
With much of that funding coming to an end next year, Pathways needs to rely more heavily on state funding. And with nearly every public high school in Delaware involved in Pathways, this is an investment that will not only benefit our students, but our entire state.
Delaware is leading the nation in this unique and creative way to serve our youth and ensure they are ready for the workforce.
State funding and support of Delaware Pathways is critical to the program’s future, as well as the future of our students, our employers, and our state’s economy.
Dr. Mark T. Brainard
president, Delaware Technical Community College