As the number of Pathways Canada Program locations continues to grow, more low-income communities with high dropout 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 formed in order to deliver the Program in a new community. Significant time and research is committed to making a selection. The process for a local organization to be approved as a community Program partner, 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 Program locations, 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 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 community Program partner 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 community Program partner 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 community Program partner assumes responsibility for implementation of the Program. And finally, at the end of each year, Program partners 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.