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Pathways in Community Colleges

Community college students are a population of need; Graduation rates are dismal, with less than 30% of full-time students completing an associate degree in 3 years and are even lower for low-income students at just 11.8%.  OPP provides support and guidance to improve student retention and graduation rates at community colleges.

Pathways in Community Colleges offers a unique collaborative opportunity for colleges and OPP. Three main Pathways components have been adapted to the community college setting: YDS Mentoring, Family Involvement Workshops, and Workforce Development.

YDS Mentoring–(Click for more information)

Utilizing OPP’s highly effective Pathways model as a guide, Youth Development Specialists (YDS) are placed on campus to work with community college students and provide the same kind of one-on-one relationships offered in the Pathways program (i.e. academic support, social/emotional development, and self-efficacy). Specializing in college retention, the YDS works with a cohort of First Generation College students that do not possess the knowledge or resiliency necessary for post-secondary success. The YDS, Workforce Development Specialist (WDS), college academic counselors, and faculty members, form a team to work with youth to ensure their graduation. The YDS serves as the central focus of support for the youth and the “go-to” person for support and services. The YDS ensures that students are held highly accountable as they are intrinsically involved in, and aware of, the student’s personal barriers, attendance, academic and financial standing, as well as their social/emotional development.

Family Involvement Workshops(Click for more information)

OPP believes in fostering family involvement to help young people succeed in college. To achieve this, the YDS facilitates direct parental/caregiver contact and helps families identify resources, financial and otherwise, to help students succeed. Workshops are also provided on topics such as scholarships and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), so youth and their families/caregivers have the information they need to understand the opportunities and demands of postsecondary education.

Workforce Development– (Click for more information)

OPP offers a variety of services to ensure that youth are ready to enter the workforce. Workforce Development Specialists are placed on campus to align student’s learning with their career goals and aspirations. The WDS provides students with access to Career Competency Development Training (CCDT) which provides youth with interactive, class-room-based job readiness training. CCDT emphasizes the development of career competencies such as: career awareness, job searching methods, interviewing skills, good work habits, workplace ethics, and money management techniques. The WDS also offers student job placement opportunities, job shadowing, mentoring, and internship placements aligned with youth career goals.

OPP operates in two community colleges:


Pathways is funded in part by the US Department of Labor.