Partners along the path

 In News, Partners Magazine



Partnerships with community organizations or job-placement agencies ensure the success of Clark’s new guided pathways program, which helps students navigate college and leads them to their desired outcome.

Margit Brumbaugh, Clark College’s educational planner and former guided pathways liaison, said the purpose is to give students more structure before and at the beginning of their college experience that aligns with where the students are at that given time.

“Students are not locked into overly rigid pathways, yet we know that they are not well-served by unlimited choices either,” she said.

This approach to guiding students is similar to the case management style at WorkSource, a community employment center that aligns people with in-demand jobs. WorkSource focuses on five industries that have urgent needs. They are construction, manufacturing, health care, information technology and transportation. These areas target employment markets that are projected to add jobs in the next 10 years.

Many of Clark’s students are raising families, 43 percent are low-income and 72 percent are first-generation college students. They need employment during their college experience and as soon as possible following graduation or completing their educational goals.

Collaborations between Clark College, WorkSource and other local organizations help students navigate the resources, hone in on a trade that interests them and get hired.


Last spring Clark’s Economic and Community Development division launched a Construction, Recruiting, Hiring and Training program to streamline individuals for entry-level construction jobs that start at $15 to $20 per hour.

Top10 alumni IndustriesPartnerships with WorkSource, Workforce Southwest Washington and local high schools identify and recruit a pool of candidates who are then interviewed by local employers participating in the program. The selected candidates enter the 11-week course to study interpersonal skills, math, blueprint reading, forklift operation, flagging, soils and erosion, OSHA safety, CPR and basic power tool safety.

The local businesses or WorkSource pay the $1,850 tuition for the candidates. The partners then recruit graduates for jobs, apprenticeships or further training.

Clark College’s guided pathways is focused on what administrative officials call “inescapable student engagement.” Utilizing WorkSource to help pay for tuition, while gaining access to the agency’s vast employer network, helps to make that commitment even stronger.

The next review of qualified candidates occurs in January and February 2018, with coursework starting in March. For information, contact Tina Cruz, Clark College Economic and Community Development, at or 360-992-2749.

Ryan Cunningham ’14 is an employment specialist at WorkSource Southwest Washington, where he helps youth and adults secure employment, develop career goals and receive training to develop employable skills.

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