The Best-Fit Path from Education to Career

According to a recent McKinsey study, 42% of college students abandoned their studies within 6 years without a degree. Many of these students took on debt to attend college, which will be challenging to pay off without a degree.

This situation is the result of a misguided cultural assumption: that every high school graduate should go to the best-possible college. High schools, colleges counselors, and institutions of higher education actively participate in perpetuating this assumption. 

About 42% of collegestudents abandonstudies without a degree, and about one-third of adults under 30 have student debt.
A technician and his apprentice work on a diesel engine together.

Opportunity Education’s Pathways ProgramTM helps students find their best path to success in their chosen career, whether it be via college, trade school, the military, or on-the-job training. Each of these options has value, and students deserve the same high-end support to find and pursue the pathway that is best for them.

The Pathways Program and Pathways Network give students this support.


The Pathways Program in High School

During high school, participating students identify their strengths and interests, and validate them with real-world experiences:

  • Future Planning and Career Investigation: Using Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessments, students identify their own strengths and interests, and learn to explore possible future paths in service learning and internships.
  • Professionalism: Students learn the essentials of career-related behaviors, including personal appearance, social media management, resume writing and interviewing, as well as in-person and online etiquette.
  • Financial Literacy: Understanding the financial implications of pathways choices, including how to pay for further education, and earnings potential is critical for each student when deciding on their actual future path. This also includes a basic understanding of saving and investing, how debt works, and how to construct a sustainable life beyond high school.
A student smiles while looking up at an internship colleague on a film set, with a green screen and lighting behind them.


The Pathways Network during College and Career

After graduation, each student has the option of continued support from a Pathways Coach through the next phase of education or career, for approximately 4-6 years. This helps students make optimal use of their education or training opportunities, expand their social and professional network, participate in further career investigation with internships and summer jobs, while also ensuring that they attend to their own wellness and mental health. 

The Pathways Network also offers regular events featuring speakers, panels, and peer networking to support students in their career planning and networking. 


Our goal: 100% of Pathways Network members successfully complete their post-secondary journey and secure a position in their chosen career.

“The internships helped me to further my education and my career goals… I was able to learn more about myself and my interests through my internships. For example, I learned that the hospitality industry is definitely the right field for me. Quest Forward Academy doesn’t just prepare you for college, they prepare you for the future.”

– Benji, 2019 Graduate of Quest Forward Academy Santa Rosa
Pathways Network Member



Q. What’s the benefit of participating in Pathways?
A. Relentless focus on each student’s path to career success. Most high schools today encourage students to apply to a best-name college without a clear direction or understanding of the career and financial implications of that choice, or even if it is the way most likely to lead to success. Students commit to spending upwards of $250,000, usually without a plan. By participating in Pathways, students develop a clear plan for their education and career, and receive the career development support throughout high school, during postsecondary education, and into their first years in their chosen career.

Q. Who can participate in Pathways?
A. Currently, Pathways is open to all students in the Quest Forward Academy high school network. We are evaluating options for offering Pathways to students in other independent, charter and public schools in the future.

Q. What does it cost?
A. Participation in Pathways during high school is included in the tuition and fees charged by Quest Forward Academies. Membership in the Pathways Network after high school is currently free of charge, and is supported by Opportunity Education.

Q. What do students have to do?
A. During high school, students participate in Pathways activities, guided by counselors, internship coordinators, and other professionals. At Quest Forward Academies, students are required to complete two service learning experiences as well as two professional internships prior to graduation.

After high school, during post-secondary education and through early career, Pathways Network members are encouraged to interact regularly with their assigned Pathways Coach, to participate in Pathways events, and to take advantage of networking and professional development opportunities offered by the Pathways Team.

Q. Do college students participating in Pathways receive additional scholarships or support?
A. Not at this time, but we anticipate developing both a Pathways Scholarship Fund as well as a Pathways Income Share Program, through which members can avoid debt for post-secondary education altogether.

Q. In the future, will the program open up to students from other schools?
A. Yes, we expect to open Pathways to other schools in the future.

Q. Who are the Pathways Coaches?
A. Pathways Coaches are typically recent college graduates, with up-to-date experience with the transition from education into career. We train our Coaches on a specific support framework that ensures they regularly evaluate each member’s “risk of failure” and actively work to mitigate such risks.

Learn More

Contact us to learn more about Pathways and how you can participate.