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National Highlights

Updates from Pathways Canada

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Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Students in low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has amplified barriers for Pathways youth and challenged us to accelerate our innovation work in order to continue providing meaningful support to students.

Pathways Program staff continue to provide one-on-one supports and address immediate needs by connecting with students via available channels, including video conference, social media, texting, and phone calls. We are also testing innovative approaches to online group programming to help minimize the impact of social isolation.

Additionally, we rolled out a variety of educational supports, like e-tutoring and other virtual support initiatives, to help Pathways students take advantage of online learning opportunities made available by provincial governments and school boards.

While school closures and social distancing measures are part of our new reality, we remain committed to helping students achieve success and provide a sense of hope and belonging virtually.

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Our Commitment to Innovation

We have a proven track record of designing and delivering innovative educational programming to youth across Canada. In 2013, our work in this area was recognized with a World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) award—the first Canadian organization to receive this accolade.

Today, we remain committed to accelerated growth through innovation in order to further our support of youth. We employ a continuous cycle of feedback to assess emerging needs of students and are focused on building internal capacity that will allow us to rapidly respond to these needs in real-time.

We are constantly exploring new avenues for innovation within the Pathways Program, from developing mass communication tools that improve program updates for students to streamlining data analytics using artificial intelligence. This commitment to digital transformation will ensure we are positioned to take advantage of emerging technologies in the coming years to help us scale for impact and reach more youth across the country—regardless of geographic location.

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Scaling for Impact in Quebec

Last year, as part of the Government Action Plan for Economic and Social Inclusion (PAGIEPS), the Quebec government delivered on their promise to support more youth living in low-income communities across the province by investing in the expansion of the Pathways Program. This investment will allow us to continue to support the unique needs of Quebec communities and offer new programming to reach more students in need.

In preparation for the province-wide expansion, we have engaged in comprehensive community consultations to identify new Pathways Program Partners. We have already confirmed five new program locations that will open this fall, with more planned over the coming year. We are excited to work alongside our new local partners to successfully integrate the program and ensure students in Quebec are equipped to succeed in the ever-changing world beyond high school.

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Engaging Graduates Beyond the Diploma

Over 7,000 students have graduated from the Pathways Program across Canada, but their journey with Pathways didn’t end with high school graduation. Whether it’s as a volunteer, staff member, or donor, Pathways alumni continue to demonstrate their motivation to give back and increase our impact across the country.

As members of the Pathways alumni network, alumni are connected to a national community of support beyond high school. Being part of this network gives alumni access to exclusive opportunities to connect with fellow alumni, students, corporate partners, and supporters of Pathways.

By joining the Alumni Ambassador Program, graduates get the opportunity to build on their leadership skills by representing Pathways in their local communities. From hosting local events to participating in media interviews, Alumni Ambassadors lead by example to raise awareness of the Pathways Program.

Alumni also have the opportunity to join the Alumni Advisory Committee, a group that represents Pathways alumni at the national level and helps to inform decision-making at Pathways Canada. The Alumni Advisory Committee is critical to representing the alumni voice—their valuable insight allows us to better support alumni through relevant and authentic engagement opportunities.

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Building Competencies for Long-Term Success

Since the inception of Pathways in 2001, we have been committed to rigorous measurement and reporting of our impact on student performance and post-graduation success.

True to that commitment, we have recently started enhancing our Performance Measurement Framework to include a new set of tools to help us understand how—and to what extent—the Pathways Program is helping young people gain critical competencies and employability skills.

While this competency development research is still in its preliminary stages, pilot projects have already generated positive findings. They demonstrate that Pathways students:

  • Develop and strengthen self-regulation skills as they progress through the Pathways Program
  • Know what it takes to perform well academically, including the types of mindsets and planning required for academic and personal success
  • Know how to avoid behaviours that would jeopardize their academic performance or meaningful social relationships with peers and adults.

This research also shows Pathways students graduate with strong self-regulation skills, persistence, adaptability, and agency. These are competencies that play a key role in preparing Pathways alumni for the 21st-century labour market and will continue to support them well into the future.

Read More about Our Research on Competencies Here.