Next week, Penn Foster will travel to Scottsdale, Arizona to take part in the 2016 Southwest Pathways Conference. The three day event, run by Arizona State University's Global Pathways Institute, seeks to bring together leading employers, educators, and workforce development experts to discuss the most promising ways to improve college and career readiness among America's youth. As both a sponsor and a speaker, we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year's conference. Here are the top three sessions we're looking forward to at the event:

1. Panel Discussion: Opportunity Youth and Collective Action

Any discussion aimed at improving career and college readiness for America's youth must include strategies that focus on opportunity youth. This group of young adults, aged 16 to 24 who are disconnected from both school and work, needs significant support in creating pathways to career and college readiness. A panel of experts, consisting of leaders from school districts and youth organizations, in addition to Penn Foster's Frank Britt, will examine how organizations can partner together to develop systematic solutions to engage with opportunity youth to get them on a path to college and careers. This discussion will take place at 1:00PM on Tuesday, May 3rd.

2. Visionary Business Leaders Panel Discussion

This panel will feature business leaders from Nissan, Walmart, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who will discuss how businesses are working to create more effective career pathways systems for their employees. Improving career readiness starts with employers identifying skills they will need from their future employees, and we are excited to learn how these organizations plan to further partner with higher education institutions to help develop these pathways. The panel will take place on Tuesday, May 3rd from 11:00AM-12:00PM.

3. Student Voices: How Multiple Pathways Can Transform Lives

The main reason that brings together all these organizations is simple: we want to see youth succeed. There's no better way to drive this point home than to hear first-hand from students whose lives have been transformed through multiple career pathways education. This session will feature the stories of four remarkable students, including the national president of the Career Technical Organization. Truly a can't-miss session, this will kickoff at 12:00PM on Tuesday, May 3rd.

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