Welcome to my inaugural blog post for Penn Foster! Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the  excellent and informative 2016 Southwest Pathways Conference. It was the 2nd annual conference hosted by the Global Pathways Institute that focuses on collaboration between educators, workforce development, and industry to provide young people, especially those disconnected from both school and work, the necessary tools to lead productive and successful lives.

Over 100 regional and national authorities spoke at the conference, including the CEO of Penn Foster, Frank Britt, who was invited to join a panel discussion on Opportunity Youth and Collective Action, along with the Superintendent of Maricopa County Schools and representatives from the United Way and Year Up. During the session, panelists made powerful statements describing Opportunity Youth as "society's burden, but no one's responsibility," and having the "lowest voice, but the greatest need".

Other keynote speakers at the conference included the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey; the Chairman & CEO of Snap-on Inc., Nick Pinchuk, who declared that "the upskilling of the American worker is the seminal issue of our time"; and Katherine Leung, the National High School President of Skills USA, who was a remarkable example of a successful collaboration between student, educators and industry.

Those who attended the conference came away with a renewed sense of purpose to elevate the discussion of pathways and career literacy to the national level. I, along with Penn Foster, am proud to be part of an increasingly diverse network of "for-purpose" organizations singularly focused on positioning opportunity youth to achieve educational and career success.

Recommended for You: The Time is Now for Blended Learning - Part 1

Resources: Photo Credit