A Positive Youth Development Approach to College and Career Readiness

Shannon J. Horrillo, Martin H. Smith, Tamekia R. Wilkins, Claudia P. Diaz Carrasco, Nathaniel W. Caeton, Darlene McIntyre, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty


Pathways to Your Future is a college and career readiness program for youth in Grades 9 through 12. The program’s curriculum provides youth with resources and opportunities to develop knowledge and learn skills that help them align their sparks with potential careers, while exploring various pathways to enter the workforce. The family component includes a pre-program orientation, a financing and budgeting workshop, and take-home materials. Latino students made up 71% of the study participants. Retrospective pre- and post-program surveys were administered to youth and parents/guardians. Results indicated that the program equipped youth participants with the knowledge and skills to plan and manage their education and career goals, prepared them for a successful post-secondary educational experience and/or entry into the workforce, and increased the number of participants who planned to attend a post-secondary institution. Few gender differences were found. Findings suggest the program increased participating parents’ knowledge, skills, and involvement in their children’s college and career aspirations and plans. The results pointed to the importance of a holistic approach to college and career readiness that involves the youth and their parents nested in a positive youth development model. 


post-secondary education; positive youth development; adolescence; Latino youth; college readiness; career readiness

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2021.966

Copyright (c) 2021 Shannon J. Horrillo, Martin H. Smith, Tamekia R. Wilkins, Claudia P. Diaz Carrasco, Nathaniel W. Caeton, Darlene McIntyre, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty

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