Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity

Tim Moriarty teaches an introductory computer programming class at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Waubonsee is participating in the Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity Project, an initiative launched Friday to develop better paths into careers in health care, manufacturing and information technology for area students.
Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer | Read Article Here

Region Contact Information

Lead Intermediary Organization

Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce

Region Story

The Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity began its efforts in 2012 following a visit by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that sparked a discussion among community leaders on preparing students for a global workplace.

In July 2012, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity invited Aurora and Chicago Public Schools to participate in an asset-mapping process coordinated by Jobs For the Future and Harvard University. That fall, more than 100 community, business, and educational leaders gathered to discuss the workforce development needs of our community. At that time, the City of Aurora under the leadership of Mayor Tom Weisner and the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Waubonsee Community College and West Aurora District 129 began formalizing a plan to address the needs.

In January 2013, following initial participation in the national Pathways to Prosperity conference in Boston and the results of the asset mapping, the Aurora Pathways to Prosperity initiative was launched at Cabot Microelectronics with more than 75 business and community leaders in attendance. Based on discussions with local and regional leaders, pathways were identified (including dual-credit opportunities, certifications, and work-based learning experiences).

The initial cohort of formalized pathways were approved and launched in the spring of 2015. Based on registrations to date, more than 10,000 course enrollments have occurred for the 2015-2016 school year. This represents an increase of 25 percent over the previous year as a result of the focused, formalized structuring of the Pathways program.

With the support and involvement of the employer community, the Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity initiative will continue to grow by addressing the needs of the region while supporting the educational attainment of its students.

Areas of Expertise

  • Asset Mapping
  • Pathways Curriculum Development
  • Dual Credit
  • Expanding Pathways

Prioritized STEM Industry Clusters

Key Success to Date

  • Expanded enrollments in pathways-related courses to 10,000, representing a 25% increase over previous year
  • Identified 75 employers for engagement
  • Chamber received $40,000 grant from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives/Lumina Foundation to support pathways

Key Goals for the Next 2 Years

  • Create sequencing for on-boarding employers who provide work-based learning activities
  • Define key metrics and explore “housing” of data collection responsibilities
  • Continue expanding and improving existing pathways in HS, IT, and MFG
  • Expand Pathways orientation to middle school