Celebrating Excellence

NCPN Career Pathways Award Application - Closed

Application Deadline: May 31 (Closed)
Notification of Winners: July 1

NCPN assists its education and business members in implementing, evaluating, and improving Career Pathways initiatives by providing a communication network. NCPN strives to compile and share information on exemplary practices; collaborate to develop implementation resources; and foster communication about Career Pathways and other workforce education programs. Sponsored by NCPN, the Career Pathways Award emphasizes 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

This nomination process is open to any Career Pathways initiative (state, regional, or local) whose leadership includes one or more NCPN members. (To join NCPN, go here.) Winners must attend the NCPN luncheon (October 12 in Louisville) to receive the award.

Review Process

Applications will be judged by the NCPN Advisory Board Award Task Force consisting of 4 to 6 members.

Nominate only one Career Pathway program of study. An overview of all of your Career Pathways programs should not be the focus of your application. Judges will consider the elements of only one program of study in reviewing your application.

Application Scoring

Employer Engagement • Curriculum • Counseling • Outcomes


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

  • Two honorable mention programs: Complimentary registration

  • Recognition at the 2018 NCPN Member Luncheon/Closing Session on Friday, October 12, 12:30-2:00

  • Opportunity to present details of winning programs during a featured breakout session at the 2018 NCPN Conference and in the Connections newsletter

Sponsored by NCPN

NCPN is the proud to sponsor this award, as it aligns with our core mission and our shared commitment to the advancement of Career Pathways, career technical education (CTE), and related education reform initiatives.


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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