Orange County has built a reputation as a national and international hub for innovative companies and leading-edge educational institutions. And through an initiative called OC Pathways, those companies and institutions are working together to equip tomorrow’s workforce — even during a global pandemic.
The sixth annual OC Pathways Showcase, set to take place from 9 to 10 a.m. on Nov. 18, will highlight local efforts to create coordinated career paths, and it will promote new opportunities for industry leaders and educators to collaborate. This year’s theme is “Your workforce is here … and it is resilient!”
“Our world was already undergoing seismic economic and technological shifts before the onset of the pandemic,” Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares said. “The current landscape demands resilience, along with new and innovative approaches to building college and career readiness. OC Pathways is well-positioned to engage deeply in this work with our schools, industry leaders, colleges, universities and regional agencies.”
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.
The initiative now includes 27 school districts and nine community colleges, along with scores of universities, regional agencies and industry and community partners. All are working together to equip students for high-demand careers.
Last year’s OC Pathways Showcase drew hundreds of educators, industry leaders and students to the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin to talk about how careers were being transformed by automation, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. This year’s version will be entirely virtual, giving attendees an opportunity to participate from their computers or smart devices.
Along with showcasing the collaborative programs and innovative systems that are helping shape Orange County’s next-generation workforce, the 2020 OC Pathways Showcase will show how local businesses can become more involved by offering internships, hosting workplace tours, providing externships for teachers and participating in coursework development.