Missouri Career Pathways

Missouri was one of twelve states selected by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Jobs for the Future to participate in the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a national education initiative designed to build career pathways systems for high-school-aged students.

For every 100 students in Missouri, only 21 will earn a four-year degree. Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century, released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in February 2011, challenged the excessive focus on the four-year college pathway, arguing that additional pathways need to be created that combine rigorous academics with strong technical education to equip the majority of young people with the skills and credentials to succeed in the increasingly challenging labor market.

The enormous interest generated by the Pathways report led to the launch of the Pathways to Prosperity Network. Other states participating in the Pathways to Prosperity Network are California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

In 2017 Missouri transitioned from the Pathways to Prosperity Network to become Missouri Career Pathways and is solely concentrating all efforts within the boundaries of the state.  When viewing Our Services one will learn of the many good things in process to assist our students to be success ready.

Our Services

Building career pathway networks that include education, business, industry, and post-secondary partners.

  • Assisting School Districts in identifying high demand careers in their region
  • Connecting employers with educators
  • Supporting districts in providing career awareness, exploration, and preparation for all students
  • Promoting work-based learning experiences for students
  • Advising school districts regarding programs of study development
  • Connecting educators with post-secondary programs that prepare students for careers
  • Coordinating and facilitating teacher externships which provide opportunities for first-hand exposure to businesses within a career pathway
  • Facilitating workshops and training

Pathways for Teachers Programs

School Districts Guiding Principles

Current Happenings

UMSL and IBM Host BlueMix for Girls

University of Missouri – St. Louis and IBM hosted a BlueMix for Girls event for 18 Pattonville High School female students on April 8.  Mary Book,  IBM’s z Analytics Technical Sales Manager, Midwest, and Dinesh Mirchandani, Department Chair for Information Systems – UMSL, collaborated to host this event as well as the event on October 9 for Normandy High School.  Several members of IBM’s Women in Technology organization participated in the event.  This organization plans to host additional events for other districts during the coming months.  

Students were encouraged to pursue careers in technology as they heard from IBM executives Myra Lincoln, VP, Public Sector Infrastructure Services Global Technology Services, and Sherri Thomas, Director, Systems – Middleware North America.  UMSL  Information Systems undergraduate and graduate students mentored and coached the students as they developed personal websites using IBM’s BlueMix software.  The teachers and students from Pattonville were very pleased with this opportunity for students to explore careers in technology.


State Fair’s Building Pathways (January and February 2016)

PtP is partnering with State Fair Community College to offer an externship experience patterned on the PtP model.  This 3 day activity has 50 participants from 20 schools who will learn about the economic development issues and employment needs for the Sedalia/ West-Central area. The participants are from large districts (Sedalia) to small (Chillhowee) and they are part of the SFCC region. The career focus will be on Allied Health and Advanced Technical (manufacturing) careers.  The first day will be informational workshops and the other two days will be touring the training programs at SFCC and visiting worksites that hire graduates. Teachers will be paid a stipend (SFCC has an NSF grant) to take their extern experiences and write specific pathways for their school’s students for the STEM careers. These pathways will be designed on the PPOS model and will indicate any options for articulated credit or dual credit for students at that school. Participants will also design either a work based classroom assignment based on the career skills, or create an activity that will increase career awareness for students and parents.  


Mechatronics Tour

On Dec 11, 2015, PtP sponsored a Mechatronics Tour for high school counselors within a “commuting” distance of Columbia to learn about Moberly Area CC Mechatronics program housed at the Columbia Parkade campus.  Eleven high schools from the MACC region such as Hallsville, Hickman and Rock Bridge attended along with neighboring schools such as Jeff City, Eldon and Boonville.  Counselors learned about The Missouri Chamber of Commerce’s Dream it, Do It campaign and the impact of manufacturing on the state’s economy. MACC staff explained the program and the instructor gave the counselors a hands on lab experience.   Two local industry employers – Pepsico and 3M – described how mechatronics graduates work in their companies. The employers also discussed the types of employees needed and the skills required for work. Counselors ended their day with a tour of the Hubbell plant in Centralia which currently has hired 3 graduates of the Mechatronic program. Counselors saw how Hubbell has evolved from an “old school” factory to one using robotics and automation.

This type of event was a first for PtP; the counselor feedback was favorable for the one day, specific career informational tour.


8th and 10th Grade SHOCK (Student Hands –On Career Knowledge) Event

On December 4, 2015, 400 8th and 10th graders from eight schools within the Boonslick Technical Education Center’s service area attended a  STEM career awareness fair at the Boonslick YMCA Gym. This activity was sponsored jointly with State Fair Community College and DESE’s College and Career Consultants and Pathways to Prosperity Network.  The eighth and tenth grade years are especially important for students exploring career paths and deciding on post-secondary training.  Completing the Personal Plan of Study (PPOS) is a key part of the transition to high school. This fair helped students make informed decisions about careers in high demand STEM sectors and provided the information needed to complete to accurately complete a meaningful PPOS. Students rotated through 14 different career stations ranging from Machine Tool to Health Information Systems to Renewable Energy to Dental Hygiene.  At each station instructors described and demonstrated aspects of the program. Students received information on programs requirements and coursework, credentials, and job outlook.  This fair linked the career path from high school to career center to community college program to potential 4 year degree programs.  The BTEC programs were linked to their parallel programs at State Fair Community College to provide a 9-14 career pathway.  Students also received information on  4 year college programs that correspond to BTEC programs; MU, CMU, Columbia College, and UCM provided information on their related degree programs. 


Troy Pohlman, Component Bar Products, hosts educators from Hazelwood East High School, Pattonville School District, North Technical High School, DESE staff, and Missouri Chamber of Commerce.


Pathways Institute for Normandy High School administration and staff


St. Louis 2015 Pathways for Teachers Summer Institute –Teachers from the Affton, Ferguson Florissant, and Hazelwood School Districts


Washington School District, Washington, Missouri  – Pathways for Teachers Kick-Off – September 28, 2015


Meet Our Team
Steve Bryant

Steve Bryant | Program Manager | Missouri Career Pathways Network

Steve Bryant assumed his new role at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the Career Pathways Manager on April 03, 2017.   Steve is a veteran educator of the classroom, held career and technical edu​cation program leadership, the assistant superintendency, superintendency roles, and most recently working in higher education.  Prior to his career in public education, Steve helped establish and managed a livestock marketing and transportation company.   He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Education from Missouri State University-Springfield, a Masters in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a Specialist in Education in Educational Leadership from Missouri State University-Springfield, and anticipates completing his Educational Doctorate in Education Leadership in the fall of 2017 from William Wood University in Fulton, MO.

The Missouri Career Pathways program plays an integral part in Missouri’s Show-Me Success initiative.  As the Career Pathways Manager, Steve and the Missouri Career Pathways team of Directors, Consultants, and Advisors utilize regional and state level labor markets needs as they work to engage high school educators, post-secondary institutions, and employers in a more collaborative approach to develop a comprehensive network of pathways to serve the youth in high school and beyond.  The goal of the Missouri Career Pathways program  is to ensure that all high school graduates acquire the competencies, credentials, and opportunities needed to be ready for employment or college entry and to ensure students are being prepared to meet Missouri’s current and future workforce needs.  Ultimately, Missouri students through a proper network of pathways will be “Success Ready”.


Dawn Richards

Dawn Richards​ | St. Louis Pathways Regional Director 

Dawn Richards serves as the St. Louis Career Pathways Regional Director. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of education. In her former role as a high school business education teacher, she also held several leadership positions within her school such as the instructional leadership team chair, the building leadership team chair, the building improvement committee chair, and she had the responsibility of planning the school’s advisory program. Dawn has a passion for helping young people recognize their options after high school and feels it is important to know what career opportunities are available to them.

Dawn received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Fisk University in Nashville, TN, a Masters in Education Administration from Lindenwood University, and a Doctorate from Maryville University in Educational Leadership.



Roberta Carson

Roberta Carson | Mid-Missouri Pathways Regional Director 

Roberta Carson serves as the Mid-Missouri Pathways Regional Director.  She joined the Pathways team in May of 2015.  Roberta earned a B.A. in English, a M.ED. in Educational and Counseling Psychology and has worked in both the Boonville and Columbia school districts.  During her thirty plus year career as an English and Humanities teacher, high school counselor and technical center counselor, Roberta has assumed many roles;  from Student Council advisor to a founding member of a faculty Executive Council.  She has implemented the model career guidance program and student personal plans of study, worked on steering and advisory committees, partnered with area community colleges, and collaborated with area school administrators and industry.  Recently she worked with her technical center administrator and regional economic developer to introduce a new program that will not only help students in the area graduate with an employable skill and credential, but also has the potential to bring industry to the community.  As a counselor working directly with high school students, Roberta has sought to expand college and career opportunities for students by promoting the A+ program and dual credit options, offering college planning workshops, sponsoring FAFSA Frenzy, and organizing college fairs.  Her participation in the School to Work Initiative convinced Roberta of the need for work based learning experiences for both teacher and students; as a result she has organized hands on learning experiences for teachers and students in the STEM career areas.  Roberta’s central Missouri roots span several generations, and Mid-Missouri is ‘home” in all meanings of the word.  Having worked in both large and small school settings, Roberta strongly believes that the economic health of a community depends on the cooperation of all of its stakeholders in preparing students for careers. 


Ann Starlin-Horner

Ann Starlin-Horner | Kansas City Pathways Regional Director 

Ann Starlin-Horner serves as the Kansas City Pathways Regional Director.  She joined the Pathways team in July 2014.  Ann grew up near the coast of Oregon and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a Masters of Arts degree in Special Education from the University of Oregon.   She completed a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Kansas.

Ann has been a teacher, middle and high school principal, or central office administrator in the states of Oregon, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, and most recently, Missouri,  where she served as the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Leadership in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.  During her tenure in Lee’s Summit R-7, she led several initiatives that focused on college and career readiness.   One example was an initiative branded “connecting all students to their futures.”  It began with strong collaboration between the business community and the district.   This collaboration led to the development of district programs implemented at each high school that prepare students to make career choices and decisions regarding their post high-school education or training programs.

Network Partners

We would like to acknowledge and thank our partners for supporting the Pathways to Prosperity Network.

Business Partners

IBM Logo
Express Scripts Logo
BJC Health Care Logo
Icon Mechanical Logo
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Logo
Ameren Logo











Related Links