OC Pathways Showcase takes a virtual journey through career and technical education in Orange County

“It’s never too early to start building your network.”

That’s the advice Doug Palladini, global brand president for Vans, said he would give to high school students as they equip themselves for a successful career.

“Connect the dots, find something you’re passionate about, and connect that passion back to your work,” said Palladini. “It’s never too early to start.”

Building a passionate network of business leaders and connecting them to students and educators is exactly the mission of OC Pathways, which on Nov. 18 celebrated six years of developing career pathway opportunities and programs in Orange County.

2020 OC Pathways Showcase
OCDE Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jeff Hittenberger led a question-and-answer session with Doug Palladini, global brand president for Vans, at the 2020 OC Pathways Showcase.

Drawing nearly 150 educators, industry leaders and students to the program’s very first virtual event, the 2020 OC Pathways Showcase featured a question-and-answer keynote with Palladini focused on the power of resilience and diversity, and the importance of career education for students. The event also included remarks from Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares and OCDE Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jeff Hittenberger.

“Here in Orange County, every student has the opportunity to thrive,” said Dr. Hittenberger. “When our students thrive, our businesses thrive, and our whole community thrives,” he continued.

While COVID-19 restrictions prevented an in-person gathering, this year’s showcase took attendees on a virtual trip exploring what career education looks like in Orange County classrooms, schools and districts.

Reflecting this year’s theme, “Your workforce is here … and it is resilient,” a video montage featured students from middle school through community college describing how Orange County’s pathway programs have encouraged them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Led by OCDE, in partnership with the Los Angeles and Orange County Regional Consortium of community colleges, OC Pathways was established in 2014 with a grant from the California Department of Education. In 2018, it was honored as a model of public-private partnerships by the Orange County Business Council.

For those unable to attend, a video recording of the showcase can be viewed below.

For more information about OC Pathways, its various initiatives, or how to get involved as a business or educational agency, please visit the OC Pathways website.