Photo by Sydney Bartholow
Paths of Most Assistance School Systems Align to Steer Youth to Promising Careers By Kelly Heath Asheboro City Schools, Randolph Community College, and the Randolph County School System recently unveiled a second pathway in their partnership project, Pathways to Prosperity. The three school systems debuted the project in 2015 with four pathways for advanced manufacturing jobs, and this latest initiative focuses on health care jobs.
create a system of career-focused pathways that span the last years of high school and at least one year of postsecondary education or training that leads to an industry-recognized certification or credential.” The project has also connected with Dr, Shackleford’s presidential initiatives for the College for the last three years.
“I think it is one of the most exciting things going on in the county,” said Dr. Robert S. Shackleford, president of RCC. “(The three school systems) are working together in unprecedented ways.”
Dr. Stephen Gainey, superintendent of the Randolph County School System, said the collaboration is for the benefit of the county as a whole and added “public education is not about competition.” In explaining what Pathways to Prosperity means for students, Nancy Cross, career and technical education administrator for the Randolph County School System, said they will push career exploration to a younger age group. Currently these types of courses are taken in high school, and, this year, they will expand to middle schools.
The project is based on a report, “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,” released in 2011 by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In the report, school systems are “called to align Career & Technical Education (CTE) courses with area and state labor market demands and
Dr. Terry Worrell, superintendent of Asheboro City Schools, said she was excited about the opportunities. “This lays out a path for students from cradle to careers,” Worrell said. Dr. Julie Pack, director of secondary education for Asheboro City Schools, said that, once the students are exposed to available careers in health care, “we must
have a clear plan of study ready for them.” She said these pathways will include nursing, medical assisting, phlebotomy, radiography, human services, and emergency medical services, adding that the pathways will include workplace learning experiences so the students will learn early whether or not they are suited for a certain career. Linda Brown, president of the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce, who has been acting as a facilitator for the steering committee, pointed out that it is not just the three school systems working together, it is the school leaders having conversations with area businesses, industries and the community about what is needed. She said that the recent Randolph County Strategic Planning process brought up an important point. “Quality of life begins with a job,” she said. “We need a way to introduce our young people to careers…that lead to family-wage jobs here in the community.” For more information on Pathways to Prosperity, go to www.randolph. edu/pathways-to-prosperity.html.