The Pathways to College Access and Career Readiness Program is an initiative of the University of Texas at Arlington's College of Education which supports traditionally under-served students as they graduate from high school and pursue a postsecondary education. To achieve this goal, Pathways prepares college students to act as mentors to high school (HS) students and places them in GO Centers located across eight local school districts. GO Centers are dedicated offices in HS campuses where college students provide the needed scaffolds for these students, at no cost to the school districts or students/families. Leveraging state-funding for these GO Centers, college/near-peer mentors describe their own college experiences as well as show them how to prepare for college and how college shapes careers, all while providing them the much needed information to make make the transition from HS to college. The mentors also engage in question and answer sessions to help students think and talk about college. For many of these students, Pathways begins the critical development of a college going culture and familiarizes students with the GO Center model and the resources available for both students and their families. Moreover, Pathways forms the much needed support that traditionally underrepresented students in our most underserved schools simply do not often receive. In the last five years, Pathways has staffed 24 GO Centers/high schools and served over 46,000 students, and has hired over 250 UTA college students to act as mentors in the last nine years the program has been been in place.
C-TEDD funding is being sought to expand the program's services to ensure that mentors hired will have direct experience with programs of studies and careers that will benefit the transportation industry, such as those enrolled in civil, industrial, and aerospace engineering, business administration, and environmental science programs, among others. The 10 mentors hired for this component will be in charge of creating presentations that can be shared at the HS campus they are assigned to, to expose students to these careers when doing career exploration activities, especially when each HS holds their Career Day. Also, HS students who demonstrate an interest in these careers will have the opportunity to visit UTA to experience a college campus firsthand for our first 'Career Day Showcase.' While at the University and as part of this Showcase, the students will participate in interactive presentations, including guest lectures from transportation industry experts from, for example, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and BNSF Railway, and others, and tour the campus. As part of this initiative, a scholarship will be made available to 20 students who enroll at UTA in a transportation-related program of study, and upon admission, they will have the opportunity to be considered for hiring as a mentor for the program, thus ensuring they will be on track to graduation. C-TEDD funding would allow us to implement these services in up to 20 high schools in both Tarrant and Johnson counties. The independent school districts (ISDs) to be served by this new initiative include: Arlington ISD, Burleson ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Everman ISD, Fort Worth ISD, and Mansfield ISD.