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, career education, 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 gives students this support.


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

  • Interest and Career Exploration: Using Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessments, students identify their own strengths and interests, and learn to explore possible future paths in service learning and internships.
  • Foundations of 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.
  • Personal Finance: 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.

After graduation, each student has the option of continued support through the next phase of education or career. This support helps students make optimal use of their education or training opportunities, expand their social and professional network, and participate in further career investigation with internships and summer jobs. 

A student smiles while looking up at an internship colleague on a film set, with a green screen and lighting behind them.

“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

Volunteer as a Career Mentor

Are you an experienced professional with knowledge to share? Get in touch with Opportunity Education to learn about becoming a Career Mentor for a young person in your area.

Help a student who is interested in your career path or industry understand what you do and how you got there, through virtual meetings and/or a visit to your workplace. The benefits are lasting: the student you mentor will feel more confident as they navigate their decision-making process, and you will gain the rewarding experience of helping a student in your community along their path toward success.

Complete the brief form below and an Opportunity Education representative will get in touch to answer your questions.

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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 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 is included in the tuition and fees to attend Quest Forward Academies.

Q. What do students have to do?

A. During high school, students participate in Pathways Program 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.

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.

Learn More

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