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STEM Pathways Guide
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STEM Pathways offer students multiple opportunities to explore, prepare for and pursue STEM degrees and careers, expanding the notion that the only pathway to success is through a four-year university. Pathway programs are led and driven by community colleges that function as conduits between high schools, universities and jobs.



These community college-led programs include:

  1. Outreach to K-12 students
  2. Technology-driven academic curriculum that lead students to industry-recognized credentials
  3. Early college options for high school students who earn transferable college credits toward these certifications and degrees.

Listen to Caroline VanIngen-Dunn speak on the Expert Lounge

March 19, 2015

All programs are integrated with industry who keep the programs current, offer students real world experiences through outreach programs and internships, and give hiring preferences to students with nationally-recognized credentials. The STEM Pathways program at SFAz is built upon the Engineering Pathway model developed at Cochise College with funding from Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and includes an online STEM Pathways Guide. This Guide is a strategic framework that provides adopters with an easy to use roadmap for researching, planning and implementing STEM Pathway programs. SFAz is collaborating with rural community colleges across Arizona to adopt components of the Pathway into their communities.

Are you interested in learning more?  Download the history and sharable Brochure of the Pathways Program here.


Download a printable version of the Pathways Model here.

Download a printable complete expanded version of the Pathways Guide here.


(Recruitment) Community college-led activities and events that generate enthusiasm and engage student interest in STEM career fields prior to college.

(Retention) Education programs and strategies that improve students' foundational STEM knowledge and skills.

(Workforce) Job experiences and competency-based programs at industry with assessments that align to industry-recognized credentials.


Resources, processes and strategies that encourage student success.

A1. Student-success strategies are incorporated in outreach activities and events that promote STEM career exploration.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

B1. Student-support strategies lead students to achieving foundational STEM knowledge and skills.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

C1. Student-support strategies help students optimize course selection and credits earned toward a stackable credential or degree.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.


Vital to keeping schools current, providing teachers with resources, and capturing student interest in STEM careers.

A2. Industry plays a supporting role outreach activities, tours and events, capturing student interest in real-world STEM opportunities.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

B2. Industry contributes to program development and mentors students in real-world experiences.



Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

C2. Industry offers internships, apprenticeships, and job-shadowing experiences that guide students to earning industry-recognized certifications and degrees.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.


Integrated across the Pathway to provide better access to education resources, virtual tours, internships and mentorship.

A3. College outreach activities with access to technology labs and technical equipment that generate student interest and awareness of STEM careers.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

B3. Technology programs offer students hands-on learning experiences; technology is utilized to access instruction and student learning opportunities between institutions.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

C3. Technical equipment is available at industry for students to gain the appropriate experience and prepare for competency-based testing and certifications.


Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.


Ensures that all course credits count toward a credential.

A4.  College outreach activities and events inform parents and students about curricular alignment to STEM career programs.  

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

B4. Dual enrollment or early college STEM academies, including intrusive advisement that lead to students success.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

C4. Colleges and industry align with industry-recognized certifications and include credits that transfer toward stackable degree programs.

Learn more about the Attributes and see Examples.

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