STEM-related academics exist in OC K-12 classrooms, but in the15 high school districts currently offering OC Pathways curriculum, Energy, Environment, and Utilities (EEU) pathways sequences have yet to be developed. As students’ interest grows in environmental/sustainability issues, it is crucial to provide access points within traditional coursework to bring awareness of opportunities available to them.
OC Pathways creates collaborative space and time for K-12, ROP, postsecondary, and industry partners to prepare students for high-demand, high-skill, and high-wage careers through academics and career readiness. Through K12SWP funding, OC Pathways has joined efforts with the San Mateo County Office of Education to implement project objectives increasing environmental awareness and exposing middle and high school students to career pathways in this sector. We plan to leverage their best practice approach and increase access to in demand jobs in this field for underserved students (48.96% in OC), including women and communities of color, which continue to be underrepresented.
This initiative is the first step for OC to develop new EEU pathways that will create a pipeline to postsecondary EEU programs and green careers, creating new opportunities for students who want to mitigate climate change.