Celebrating Excellence

Career Pathways Excellence Award


NCPN assists its members in implementing, evaluating, and improving Career Pathways initiatives. To facilitate the exchange of promising practices, NCPN compiles and shares information from member programs throughout the US. NCPN’s Career Pathways Excellence Award recognizes outstanding programs emphasizing the importance of career guidance and advising, professional development for educators and employers, and the employer role in providing work-based learning opportunities for students.

Criteria for Application

The nomination process for the Career Pathways Excellence Award is open to any NCPN member; the nominated program may be a state, regional, or local level initiative. Winners must attend the NCPN luncheon at the annual conference to receive the award.

Review Process

Applications are evaluated by members of the NCPN Advisory Board.

The elements of only one program of study will be considered per application; nominators may not submit multiple programs within a single application.

Application Sections

The application for the Career Pathways Excellence Award is available in the spring each year. Major sections of the application include:

Program Overview • Professional Development and Experience • Employer Involvement • Career Guidance and Advising • Results

Award Benefits

  • First place: Airline, hotel, and complimentary conference registration for one person

  • Two honorable mention programs: Complimentary conference registration

  • Recognition at the NCPN membership luncheon on Friday of the upcoming conference

  • Opportunity to present details of winning programs during a featured breakout session at the upcoming conference and in the Connections newsletter

  • The winning program and the honorable mention programs will each receive a complimentary 8x10' booth in the NCPN exhibit hall to showcase their winning program.


If you have questions about award content, please contact Debbie Mills. If you have questions about completing the award application, please contact Sheila Wilson.

2017 Co-Winners and Honorable Mention Recipient

Ceres High School’s Manufacturing, Production and Green Technology (MPGT) Academy

Ceres, California—The MPGT Academy was created to prepare students for careers in manufacturing. The academy offers a four-year CTE-focused pathway at Ceres High School. A majority of the students enrolled are designated as academically and socioeconomically “at risk.” In grades 9–11, MPGT Academy students participate in three core academic courses as well as a grade-level-designated CTE course. In 12th grade, students participate in one academic course and a CTE course.

MPGT Academy partners with Modesto Junior College to provide concurrent enrollment credits for students in grades 10–12. Business partners include local manufacturers such as E. & J. Gallo Winery, Frito Lay, Parker Hannifin Racor, Scholle IPN, FreshPoint Foods, Seneca Foods, G3 Enterprises, Opportunity Stanislaus, Select Harvest USA, Flory Industries, The Wine Group, Bronco Winery, Craig Safety Group, Sconza Candy, and Kohl’s. MPGT Academy works with Careers in Manufacturing, Project YES, and Opportunity Stanislaus to place students in positions with manufacturers in the community.

Worksite learning activities provide students with opportunities to observe professionals and to practice skills learned in the classroom. A team of over 50 mentors from 15 local businesses meet monthly with 11th-grade students, host mock interviews for 12th-grade students, and facilitate a ten-week Gateway-to-Industry bootcamp. E. & J. Gallo Winery provides paid internships.

The program has an excellent record of achievement in postsecondary enrollment rates and job placement.

Ranken Technical College’s Certified Dealership Technician Program

> St. Louis, Missouri—Ranken’s Certified Dealership Technician Program partners with automotive manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Audi, and Chrysler to provide state-of-the-art facilities and training. Students alternate between eight weeks of on-campus classes and eight weeks of paid work-based learning.

Instructors participate in more than 2000 aggregate hours of training annually. Summer Career Academies provide hands-on STEM activities for middle and high-school students while offering professional development for secondary educators. Teachers are provided with a stipend to participate in 40 hours of career exploration, which includes technologies, career pathway workshops, and laboratories that can be used in the classroom. Ranken also hosts campus events for the region’s high school guidance counselors.

Employer partners supervise student internships, participate in job fairs, and engage students through classroom visits. Students can also gain work experience through our on-campus micro-enterprises with such partners as Enterprise Car and the JM&A Group (a provider of automotive finance and insurance).

For the past four years, full-time students who graduated from the Certified Dealership Technician program have achieved a 100% initial job placement rate with sponsoring dealerships. Additionally, our students regularly compete and win top honors at the local, state and district levels of the SkillsUSA competition.

Manufacturing Connect, Manufacturing Renaissance

> Chicago, Illinois—Manufacturing Connect (MC) inspires young people and equips them for self-sufficiency while creating conditions that support community development. Through public/private partnerships, MC creates and expands the linkages between schools, communities, and opportunity in the manufacturing sector.

MC was developed by nonprofit Manufacturing Renaissance through a partnership with Austin College and Career Academy (formerly Austin Polytechnical Academy), a Chicago public school that opened in 2007.

Since 2007, MC’s more than 100 manufacturing partners have provided advisory support, opportunities for field trips, and work experiences such as job shadowing activities and paid internships. MC’s advisory board includes representatives from the offices of Senator Durbin, Congressman Schakowsky, Cook County Commissioner Boykin, and Alderman Taliaferro, along with the Chicago/Cook Workforce Partnership, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Teachers Union, and Chicago Federation of Labor.

Since 2010, approximately 215 MC participants have completed the program. Sixty program completers have been placed in full-time manufacturing jobs earning between $25,000 and $75,000 per year.

Download a PDF of the booklet featuring the 2016 honorees.

Download a PDF of the booklet featuring the 2015 honorees.


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