Post-Secondary Pathways: Community Engagement
Earlier this year, Cradle to Career conducted listening sessions with community members to better understand the barriers to post-secondary pathways as part of the Post-Secondary’s Change Networks collaborative action. These sessions prioritized the voices of racially and ethnically diverse youth and young adults not currently in a high school or on a post-secondary education pathway, as well as self-identified learners from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Key findings and common themes included:
- Pathway Education and Support: Learners have varying levels of support needs. It is important to be population-specific when creating solutions towards persistence and attainment.
- Peer Community and Support: Opportunity youth highlighted the necessity of the support of peers with similar goals to persevere through challenges, stay motivated, and provide a much-needed sense of community.
- Modality Exploration: Among youth, flexibility in pathways was important, however many were aware of the need for self-discipline when attending classes online and were concerned they could fall behind without traditional class structure and peer interaction. Those who preferred a physical class environment also voiced they wanted to work close to or on-campus and did not want to split campuses if possible.
The findings illustrate the need for pathways to be flexible allowing for different life circumstances while institutionalizing relevant and impactful mechanisms of support. These learnings also present opportunities for shifts in policies and practices that can ensure post-secondary institutions are ready for any student and not just some. C2C is excited to share these insights with partners that are ready to act in co-developing solutions with youth and young adults. We will also be developing a resource guide with additional information designed in a way that is accessible and useful.