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Pathways to Success

    Pathways to Success is a workforce readiness and community outreach program that SHRM chapters can implement targeting high school juniors and seniors.

    Originally created by the Chesapeake Human Resources Association (CHRA) in 1995, the objective of the program is to better prepare our youth for the transition from school to work or school to higher education.

    The program is comprised of five one-day sessions spaced out monthly across the school year beginning with an orientation session. Each one-day session is held at a different host organization.

    The session topics include:

    • Habits for Successful Personhood
    • Developing a Personal Mission Statement
    • Work Cultures
    • Getting the Job: Interviewing Skills
    • Skills and Behaviors for Job Success

    The sessions are interactive and require introspection, creativity and participation. They work on such concepts as teamwork, interpersonal relations, communications, interviewing, collaboration and cooperation.

    One thing that makes “Pathways” unique is that the sessions are held in real world workplaces, not in the schools. By being in the host organizations, students are able to identify occupations of interest that perhaps they did not know or think about previously. The school principals, guidance counselors and faculty partner with your chapter each school year by selecting the students to participate and allowing them the time to go to the program.

    Deciding to Implement

    Before your chapter decides to implement a Pathways to Success program, have your leadership team answer the following questions:

    • Do we want to implement a workforce readiness initiative that will help the next generation of workers know what to expect when they enter the job force?
    • Do we want to create a community outreach program that helps our chapter with branding and name recognition in the business and educational communities?
    • Do we want to offer our members volunteer opportunities with a wide variety of time commitment options – ranging from one day or one month, to year-round leadership opportunities?

    If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then Pathways is the program for you!

    Partnerships Needed

    • A local high school – find a school in your local jurisdiction that would want to partner with you in this effort. Someone on your leadership team may have a contact or existing relationship with a school; you may know of a particular school that is in need of business sector support; or you could ask your local county superintendent for input. However you decide, the bottom line is that the school’s principal and guidance department needs to be on board and welcoming of your time and efforts.
    • Transportation – whether you arrange for student transportation through the school system or a private bus company, you need to determine in advance how the students will get from school to the different host organizations each month.

    Volunteers Needed

    • Pathways Coordinator – whether this is your board’s workforce readiness director, a community outreach director, or other leadership team member – you need a single go-to person to oversee the entire program. This person would be the liaison to the school, and would coordinate host locations, instructors and transportation. As CHRA’s program expanded over the years, they had an overall director as well as separate school coordinators for each school with which they partnered. (See attached “Role of School Coordinators”)
    • Instructors – each session can have a different instructor to teach and facilitate the day’s lesson.
    •  Hosts – each session can have a different host organization. (See attached “Role of Host Organizations”)

    Tools Needed

    Recommended tools include the following:

    • 7 Habits book – Steven Covey’s son Sean wrote

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, and it is a fantastic “text book” to use throughout the sessions. Each student should get a copy of the book at the beginning of the year.

    • Curriculum – Over the years, CHRA volunteers have developed a general outline for each of the five sessions. (See attached “Sample Curriculum Outlines”) Obviously, each instructor can customize the lesson plans based on their available resources and to suit their respective presentation styles.

    Role of School Coordinators

    Role of Host Organizations


    Sandra Kelley, SPHR

    MD SHRM Council Director of Workforce Readiness