Educators and industry leaders will have an opportunity next month to explore dozens of student-led projects that demonstrate how OC Pathways and its community partners are steering the next generation toward high-skill, high-wage and high-demand careers in STEM-related fields.
The event is the second annual OC Pathways Showcase, which will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 30 at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin.
“The theme of the showcase is ‘The ultimate road trip,'” said Jeff Hittenberger, OCDE’s chief academic officer and co-chair of OC Pathways. “We believe that when students have the opportunity to link their academic pursuits with real-world career preparation in fields like engineering/advanced manufacturing, healthcare/biotechnology, and ICT/digital media, the world of learning comes alive for them.”
“This journey of learning is the ultimate road trip,” Hittenberger said, “made possible by collaboration among schools, colleges and Orange County business, industry and community leaders.”
This year’s showcase, which is expected to draw about 400 people, will feature remarks by Virgin Galactic Vice President of Program Development Tim Buzza, who is responsible for managing the development and operation of the LauncherOne satellite launch vehicle. Buzza will be joined by Virgin Galactic Propulsion Engineer Nicole Lewis, and the event will also feature the creators of the PBS documentary series “Roadtrip Nation,” who have traveled the globe to find out how individuals transform passions into careers.
Led by OCDE and Saddleback College, 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 STEM-related industry sectors.
“This countywide project creates work-based learning opportunities for students and empowers educators with 21st-century learning strategies,” said OC Pathways Executive Director Amy Kaufman. “More than 14,000 high school students and more than 10,000 community college students in Orange County have participated in career pathways related to the OC Pathways initiative in the past year, and that number is growing every year.”
OC Pathways was initiated through a 2014 grant from the California Department of Education. It now comprises 14 school districts, nine community colleges, multiple universities, numerous regional agencies and scores of industry and community partners.