About Us
OC Pathways connects educators and industry leaders to equip students for college and career success. Partners develop coursework that combines rigorous academics with career preparation in such target sectors as health care/biotechnology, engineering/advanced manufacturing and information technology/digital media. This countywide project also creates work-based learning opportunities for students and empowers educators with 21st-century learning strategies.

Led by the Orange County Department of Education and Saddleback College, OC Pathways was initiated through a 2014 grant from the California Department of Education. The collaborative now comprises 14 school districts, nine community colleges, multiple universities, numerous regional agencies and scores of industry and community partners working together to prepare Orange County students for high-demand, high-skill and high-wage careers.
Funded through a grant from the California Department of Education, OC Pathways is building a regional infrastructure to support diverse career pathways. The focus of this initiative is on developing pathways in high-need, high-wage, high-skill STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) sectors vital to the regional economy. The partnership’s focus sectors are:

  • Health Care/Biotechnology
  • Engineering/Advanced Manufacturing
  • Information Technology/Digital Media
The mission of OC Pathways is to facilitate collaboration among schools, colleges and regional business and community partners to ensure that Orange County students are ready for college and career success through participation in learning experiences that integrate rigorous academics and career preparation.
OC Pathways will create a countywide, self‐sustaining support system, in partnership with schools, colleges and regional businesses and community organizations, to expand career pathway opportunities for increasing numbers of Orange County students. OC Pathways will equip educators with the competencies needed to offer students preparation for the pursuit of careers and post‐secondary education opportunities leading to high‐demand, high‐skill, high-wage careers and expanded life opportunities.

OC Pathways is committed to:

  • Strong regional educational partnerships collaborating to create career pathways that integrate rigorous academics and career preparation, equipping students for college and career success
  • Creating innovative college and career readiness programs that promote learning by action and reflection to motivate, inspire and prepare students for a 21st-century workforce
  • Creating technology-rich and academically engaging learning environments where students are empowered to develop their interests, talents and skills in high-growth, high-demand careers.
  • Creating educational opportunities that promote diversity and inclusiveness and support the needs of the regional economy and the vibrant communities of Orange County
  • Engaging industry partners in the development of career pathways through participation in the design and assessment of curriculum, support of work-based learning opportunities for students and continuous professional development for educators and administrators
  • Engaging with local, regional, state and federal economic and workforce development initiatives to create a sustainable Orange County career pathways infrastructure
  • Nearly 14,000 Orange County high school students participated in a career pathway in one of three OC Pathways industry sectors in 2015-2016, more than double the number from the previous year.
  • Approximately 20 percent of those high school students participated in a work-based learning experience, including job-shadowing, mentorship and internship programs.
  • More than 10,000 Orange County community college students participated in a career pathway program in one of three OC Pathways sectors, a number that is growing each year.
  • OC Pathways launched the Career Readiness Hub, serving 700 educators and up to 2,100 K-14 students countywide in the 2016-2017 school year and is poised to serve 2,000 educators and up to 60,000 students in 2017-2018.
  • The Regional Mapping Pilot Initiative was established. Six Pathway Leadership Teams comprised of 100 educators and school counselors successfully mapped career pathways in each STEM sector from secondary through post-secondary education and into the workforce.
  • Of the 108 high school pathway programs receiving OC Pathways funding, 48 or 44 percent were newly established . Of those, 29 are in the high-growth field of information communications technology.
  • Of the 38 community college pathway programs receiving OC Pathways funding, half were newly created. Seven of the new pathways are in the digital media arts industry sector.
  • In year one, articulation agreements allowing high school students to receive community college credit for taking career technical education courses through OC Pathways programs increased by 13 percent.
  • The University of California Curriculum Integration (UCCI) developed six new courses that combine real-world technical training with core academic subjects. Four of those meet UC and CSU admissions requirements.
  • 124 high school students earned 304 community college credits through dual enrollment.
  • Nearly 500 K-12 and community college educators enrolled in OC Pathways professional development sessions, with some participating in multiple sessions.
  • OC Pathways leaders established 53 additional businesses partnerships beyond those that initially signed letters of support during the project’s conception.
  • Eight high school students from Santa Ana received stipends from OpTerra Energy Services to participate as summer interns at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
  • More than 80 teachers from diverse career technical education programs and core discipline subject areas completed a three-day summer workshop on “Design Thinking” to explore the integration of academics and career preparation.
  • The creation of the Orange County BioTech Education Partnership https://www.ocbiotecheducation.org/, a collaborative between K12, community colleges and business and industry.
  • Collaboration with Dreams for Schools and APPJam+ Students at Orange Unified School District provides opportunities for middle school students considering an ICT Pathway in high school to learn how to create apps for phones:
    1) Cerro Villa Video Recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG0je3yfbqU
    2) Yorba Video Recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVPIjSANvjY
    3) Portola Video Recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m8SnRQeRiI
  • A publication entitled, K-14 Career Pathways: Reimagining the Role of Counselors in Supporting Student College and Career Success. The publication resulted from of the collaboration of over 50 high school and community college counselors who came together as a professional learning community to expand opportunities for students in identifying and succeeding in their career paths.
  • OC Pathways deployed 2,000 no-fee, teacher subscriptions to the Career Readiness Hub that includes a private portal for our OC Pathways virtual work-based learning platform https://ocpathways.nepris.com/.
  • In collaboration with OCDE and OC Pathways, the United Way launched Youth Career Connections providing employability skills training and paid internships for students in Orange County high school districts.
  • OC Pathways, in partnership with the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce, developed the first of it’s kind Workforce Initiative,North Orange County Works (NOW) mapping career pathways from Anaheim Fullerton Union high school districts to the North Orange County Community Colleges and local industry partners such as Kimberly-Clark, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Knott’s Berry Farm for true high school to college to career connection. Learn more about it here​.