OC Pathways launches network of work-based learning resources for regional education partners

Local education partners attend OC Pathways Regional Education Collaborative meeting on Feb. 7, 2023.
Local education partners attend the OC Pathways Regional Education Collaborative meeting on Feb. 7, 2023.

OC Pathways will host its second installment of the K-16 Regional Education Collaborative network sessions on Tuesday, inviting educational partners from around Orange County to foster seamless career pathway transitions between high school, postsecondary education and the workforce.

Led by the Orange County Department of Education, the college and career readiness initiative plans to present a first-of-its-kind, centralized system of resources to local educators on May 16 and spark ideas to utilize their newly-acquired grant funding for Orange County students.

OC Pathways is a countywide consortium established in 2014 to facilitate collaboration among local school districts, colleges, universities, businesses and ROPs. Its mission is to increase work-based learning experiences for students from kindergarten to college through industry certifications, early college credit opportunities, internships and apprenticeships.

The OC Pathways program was awarded $18.1 million as part of the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program, which distributed six awards in May of last year totaling $108.6 million to public education programs throughout the state. These grants are part of a statewide strategy to help California’s economy recover from the pandemic while providing greater access to higher education and workforce opportunities. 

The K-16 Regional Education Collaborative held its first meeting on Feb. 7, with OCDE Director of Career Education Kathy Boyd proposing goals for the project and introducing a new work-based learning hub.

With the grant funding, this updated hub — in the form of an online network — is intended to help local educators connect directly with business partners in Orange County and serve as a main channel between its network of more than 100 education and business partners to support student career preparation experiences. OC Pathways also has plans to expand its efforts to offer career pathways in the healthcare, business management, computing, education and engineering industry sectors. 

“We are so fortunate to be in the unique position to strategically connect educators and a variety of industry partners in building internship and apprenticeship opportunities for students in Orange County,” Boyd said.

The K-16 Regional Education Collaborative network event will take place on May 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Orange County Department of Education, located at 200 Kalmus Dr. in Building D. 

Local educators and Orange County businesses interested in learning more about the K-16 Regional Education Collaborative program can visit ocpathways.com/k-16-education-collaborative