The PATHWAYS Initiative is a youth-centered approach to providing educational and stabilization support to Opportunity Youth (16-24 year olds who are disconnected from education, training and employment). In order to get back on track and to obtain a high school credential, post-secondary certification and a living wage job, youth will be involved in various youth development best practices including mentoring, case management and comprehensive wrap around services. Guided by mentors, each young person will play an active role in creating a personalized pathway to achieving educational, training and employment success based on interest and ability. Utilizing a collective impact approach, a collaborative has been established (Child Welfare, Probation, Unified School District, Community College District, San Diego Workforce Partnership, Community Based Organizations, Philanthropy, Businesses, Youth and Elected Officials) to implement a pathway model that identifies, supports, and reconnects Opportunity Youth to programs and services that ultimately lead to careers. With public and private funding from The Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, The California Endowment, The Parker Foundation, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and San Diego Unified School District – PATHWAYS includes the following components:
- Outreach and reengagement. An outreach strategy (in partnership with San Diego Unified School District and Urban League of San Diego) to instill hope and interest in students who are at severe risk of dropping out of school and those who have recently dropped out – by assessment of their educational, support, and stabilization needs.
- Educational momentum. Creating opportunities for initial success by developing individual academic plans and identifying the educational environment that is the “best fit” for each youth. This includes programs that offer preparation for, and bridges to, postsecondary success.
- Certification, Credentialing, & Employment. Building experience and confidence by developing pathways to internships, apprenticeships, industry certifications, and placement in San Diego’s high demand careers.
- Youth Development, Support, & Stabilization Services. Provide life skills support through mentoring and strong peer networks. Provide wrap around case management services based on needs (in partnership with Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funded service providers).