As the number of Pathways Canada sites grows, more low income communities with high drop-out rates are expressing interest in establishing their own local program. And indeed the need is all too widespread. To ensure the success, quality and sustainability of the program, Pathways is strategic about both the location and the partnerships we form to deliver the program in a new community. Significant time and research is committed to making a selection. In fact, the process for a local organization to be approved as a host agency, and formally establish a Pathways to Education program in its community, involves four distinct, in-depth phases.
- Prospecting Phase
- Community Engagement Phase
- Delivery Phase
- Evolving Phase
During the Prospecting phase, initial discussions take place to determine if the community meets the minimum requirements. Questions are addressed regarding actual need, capacity for local implementation, ability to raise funds, proximity to other Pathways sites, and what population and geographic location it would serve. The interested community must have a community based organization that is prepared to deliver the Pathways Program over the long term. The agency submits a thorough application to Pathways Canada which is assessed based on the above criteria.
If these criteria are met, the Community Engagement phase begins. Pathways Canada provides funding to the host agency to investigate whether the Pathways program is an appropriate response to local priorities, challenges and capacity. Focus groups and information sessions are held with young people, parents and community leaders; partnerships are initiated within the local school system; and funding opportunities are solidified. The host agency provides Pathways Canada with a series of reports making recommendations related to local implementation of the Program.
If a decision is made to proceed to the Delivery phase, a contract is signed, and the host agency assumes responsibility for implementation of the program. And finally, at the end of each year, program stakeholders participate in the Evolving phase and evaluate the program’s success through surveys and focus groups to ensure that challenges are identified and changes are introduced for the following school year.
- The Pathways program is delivered through local community organizations
- All high school aged youth living within the program’s catchment area are eligible to participate
- With average sign-up rates over 85%, Pathways is a collective movement of the community for education