The California Guided Pathways Project is designed to substantially increase the number of students who earn a certificate or degree at a California community college through an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success and structured educational experiences that support each student from the point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers.
What are Guided Pathways?
Guided pathways reform is a student-centered approach that can dramatically increase the number of students earning community college credentials and simultaneously close equity gaps. Rather than work with a subset of students, guided pathways are a college-wide undertaking that provides a framework for integrating California-based initiatives such as SSSP, Equity, Basic Skills Transformation, the Strong Workforce Program, and California College Promise. The California Guided Pathways project was modeled from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Project and adapted for implementation in California to support colleges as they guide students in clarifying their paths to end goals, select and stay on that path, and ensure quality learning.
Guided Pathways Startup
Through a competitive application process, 20 California Community Colleges were initially selected to participate in Guided Pathways in 2016. College teams participated in six two-day institutes, focused on key elements required to implement a fully-scaled pathway model which serves all students at a community college, plus received support on the change process from expert coaches.
California Guided Pathways Project 2.0
In 2020, the Foundation was granted funding to support a new phase of the Guided Pathway project, called California Guided Pathway Project 2.0. In partnership with the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement (NCII), this new phase aims to solidify institutional commitment to the guided pathways framework by supporting continued development of guided pathways at currently participating colleges, and increasing the number of colleges demonstrating scaled implementation.
Over the next two years, California Guided Pathway Project 2.0 will host institutes, site visits, virtual consultancies, office hours, and webinars to support two cohorts of participating colleges. The first cohort will consist of the participant colleges of the original Guided Pathways project, while cohort two will be made up of 21 new participant colleges. Both cohorts will focus on new thinking and approaches to implementing guided pathways design, with an emphasis on promoting equity, developing a sense of community on college campuses, and supporting student financial stability and workforce experiences.
The project is led by a broad base of stakeholders and funded through generous support by College Futures Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and the Teagle Foundation, in addition to fees paid by participating colleges.