What is a Sherpa? Technically, a Sherpa is “a member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” In common parlance, a Sherpa is known as an expert mountaineer who helps another person (especially a climber foreign to the region) to trek the dangerous, difficult and life-threatening ascent of the Himalayas in Nepal.
What is a Pathways-Sherpa? Someone who helps you in your Pathways Journey. If you’ve already tried it, you know that developing an individual college-career pathway (what I call a Pathway Program) is challenging and rewarding, both for the student, the teacher/faculty member, and other employer partners who get involved.
But developing a robust Pathways System is somewhat more challenging, because it involves integrating several inter-related components – defining career and life readiness, implementing career development programs and resources, launching and updating Pathway Programs, enhancing dynamic teaching and learning, engaging employers and other community partners, and creating sustainable partnerships between K-12 education, career technical centers, colleges, workforce systems. These pieces typically happen in varying degrees in most schools and colleges, but definitely not as an integrated system. And that’s why, despite lots of activity, most pathways activities don’t realize the synergies of an integrated Pathways System offers.
With mountaineering in Nepal, you’re more likely to have a successful climb to the top by employing the assistance of an experienced Sherpa. In the same way, you are much more likely to be successful in your pathways journey by getting the advice and help of an individual, actually a whole community of individuals, who are experienced in the Pathways ascent.
Every week, at least one time, you’ll find new information and insights in this blog – drawn from real experience of others who are climbing ahead – about how to build a successful Pathways System.
Don’t hesitate to get in contact with me, and let me know about your successes. Also let me know what are the critical questions and challenges you are facing, so that I can make sure we lead in the most helpful direction for you.
Drop me a note at PathwaysSherpa@nc3t.com.
Hans Meeder, author of The Power and Promise of Pathways, is President and CEO of the National Center for College and Career Transitions, former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, and a nationally recognized expert, public speaker and experienced coach in pathways systems development, career technical education and STEM education.READ ABOUT THE AUTHOR