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Building Pathways to Education and Employment for Underserved Populations through Access Programming (E)

Stream: Supporting Teaching, Learning and Student Success

In this panel, we present an overview of research conducted on a community-college access partnership designed to build pathways to education and employment for underserved and under-represented populations. The partnership is designed in collaboration with community and industry partners, courses are delivered in neighbourhood-based settings and online formats, and students are provided with wraparound support to facilitate their progress to a further course of postsecondary study or employment pathway. Our presentation is structured in three parts. First, we provide an overview of the access programming initiative, describe how it has evolved to better serve our client populations, and detail the nature and scope of our research activities. Second, we provide an overview of our research on the building of a wellness support system for the college’s access programming. Designed in consultation with health and human services partners, we detail the collaborative processes involved in nurturing students’ well-being and capability to access an educational pathway. Third, we detail our research findings on designing customized course programming in collaboration with local employers and social service providers that aim to connect participating students with an entry-level employment opportunity. We conclude with some observations and points of critique on the research process and on postsecondary access initiatives as a community-engaged poverty reduction strategy.

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