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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Brian Donnelly, OC Pathways

OC Pathways Showcase Builds Regional Collaboration

  • Type of Practice: Regional Collaboration
  • Type(s) of Users Served: Associate Degree Students, Counselors/Supporting Staff to Student, External Certification Seekers, Faculty/Teachers, First-time Students, Higher Unit Certificate Students, Returning Students, Transfer Students
  • Sector(s): Advanced Manufacturing, Health, Information & Communication Technologies (ICT)/Digital Media, Life Sciences/Biotech
  • Momentum Point(s) & Leading Indicators : MP 4, MP 5, MP 6, MP 6a, MP 7, MP 8, MP 10, MP 11, MP 12, MP 13, MP 15, MP 16, MP 18, MP 27, MP 28, MP 29, LI 1, LI 2, LI 3, LI 5, LI 6, LI 7 (click here for description)
  • Regions Involved: Orange County
  • Colleges Involved: Coastline Community College, Cypress College, Fullerton College, Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, Orange Coast College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College
  • Other Organizations: Orange County Department of Education; LA/OC/RC; OC STEM; Orange County DSN's ; United Way, OC WIB; Growth Sector;

The Challenge

OC Pathways is a California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) grant led by the Orange County Department of Education and Saddleback Community College. Our partners include 14 school districts, 4 ROP’s nine community colleges and multiple intermediaries, WIBS and NGO’s. The challenge we face is shared by all CCPT recipients: How can we build a sustainable regional infrastructure that will ensure our long term ability to prepare students for careers in a world where change is the only constant? The metrics of success framed by CDE’s grant data points and the Doing What Matters Leading Indicators and Momentum points underscore the fact that the breadth and depth of traditional models for regional collaborations are obsolete.

The Solution

We held a showcase event titled “Equipping students for success in the global innovation economy”. The showcase was built around a theme captured in a quote by author Tony Wagner who writes “We live in an innovation economy…What matters most in our increasingly innovation driven economy is not what you know, but what you can do with what you know.” The showcase was intended to educate regional stakeholders about the mission and vision of OC Pathways by highlighting student work and success stories with the overarching goal of cultivating relationships vital to a dynamic regional collaborative. A priority was to engage business partners as we move forward on major efforts to align pathway curricula and expand work-based learning experiences


We exceeded our attendance expectations with over 340 attendees. Through extensive outreach we had over 100 business and government leaders participate in the event. The showcase consisted of two major elements: exhibitions by 100 % of our educational institutions and a presentation program led by Al Mijares, OCDE superintendent and Todd Burnett, President Saddleback CC. Highlights included an inspirational presentation by astronaut Leland Melvin combined with the premiere of 3 student success videos followed by a Q&A with the student "stars" of those videos. Attendees subsequently networked with teachers and students. The heightened awareness about OC Pathways sets the stage for a major campaign to build our regional collaborative.

The Data

The data needed to indicate success of the long term regional collaborative will of course emerge over the next few years. On an immediate level the success of the showcase is based on attendance figures, especially the number of business and government leaders. Highlights of several year one accomplishments indicate that we are on the right track.
• More than 8,600 high school students participated in OC Pathways programs across six industry sectors
• More than 12,500 community college students were enrolled in OC Pathways industry sectors during the project’s first year, earning more than 600 certificates and 85 degrees.
• We launched 48 new h.s. and 19 new CC pathway programs.
• 13% increase in articulation agreements

Supporting Information

Orange County Department of Education News Article about OC Pathways

OC Pathways Website

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Common Metrics

Leading Indicators

LI 1 Alignment of skillsets within a program (or set of courses) to a particular occupation and the needs of the labor market
LI 2 Regionalization of stackable certificates aligned with a particular occupation ladder
LI 3 Alignment of a certificate with state-, industry-, nationally-, and/or employer- recognized certification
LI 4 Creation of a credit certificate from non-credit certificate
LI 5 Curriculum articulation along a career or multi-career educational pathway
LI 6 Updating the skills of faculty, teachers, counselors, and/or “supporting staff to student” to reflect labor market needs
LI 7 Integration of small business creation and/or exporting modules into for-credit curriculum in other disciplines

Momentum Points

Middle School Cluster
MP 1Completed an individual career and skills awareness workshop in middle school that included a normed assessment process and was in a Doing What Matters priority or emerging sector
Transition from Middle School to High School
MP 2Completed a bridge program between middle school and high school and revised student career/education plan
MP 3Completed a student orientation and assessment program while in middle school or high school
High School Cluster
MP 4Completed one course in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 5Completed two or more courses in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 6Completed a CTE articulated course
MP 6aSuccessfully completed a CTE dual enrollment course or credit by exam, with receipt of transcripted credits
MP 7Completed a program in high school within a CTE pathway
Transition from High School to College Cluster
MP 8Completed a bridge program between high school and college in a CTE pathway
MP 9Completed college orientation and assessment as a first-time community college student who entered a community college CTE pathway
MP 10Transitioned from a high school CTE pathway to a similar community college CTE pathway
MP 11Transferred from a high school CTE pathway to a similar CSU, UC or private/independent university CTE pathway
MP 12Completed a counselor-approved college education plan, for first-time community college students who enter a CTE pathway
MP 13During high school, participated in an internship, work-based learning, mentoring, or job shadowing program in a CTE pathway
MP 14Percentage of community college students, who participated in a high school CTE pathway, whose first math or English course was below transfer-level
Community College Cluster
MP 15Completed two courses in the same CTE pathway
MP 16Retention rate between Fall and Spring within a CTE pathway
MP 17Completed a non-CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
MP 18Completed a CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
General Education and Transfer Progress Cluster
MP 19Completed a work readiness soft skills training program (either stand-alone or embedded) within a CTE pathway
MP 20Completed college level English and/or math, for students in a CTE pathway
MP 21Completed the CSU-GE or IGETC transfer track/certificate for students in a CTE pathway
MP 22Completed requirements in a CTE pathway, but did not receive a certificate or a degree
MP 23Completed an associate degree in a CTE major
MP 24Completed an associate degree in a major different from student’s college CTE pathway
MP 25Transferred from community college to a four-year university in the same CTE pathway
MP 26Transferred from community college to a four-year university in a major different from their CTE pathway
Community College Transition To Workforce Cluster
MP 27Participated in a college internship or workplace learning program within a CTE pathway
MP 28Attained a job placement in the same or similar field of study as CTE pathway
MP 29Acquired an industry-recognized, third-party credential
Workforce Progress Cluster
MP 30Attained a wage gain in a career in the same or similar CTE pathway
MP 31Attained wages equal to or greater than the median regional wage for that CTE pathway
MP 32Attained wages greater than the regional standard-of-living wage
MP 33Participated in incumbent worker training or contract education in a CTE pathway (for example training for layoff aversion, meeting heightened occupational credentialing requirement, transitioning employees whose occupations are being eliminated, or up-skilling existing employees)
MP 34Exception


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