Through key partnerships and a dedication to creating opportunities for students and families in Chicago, high school District 214 created the Career Pathways Program and McDonald’s invested in its employees through the Archways to Opportunity program.
Achieving Tomorrow in Chicago
When faced with labor shortages and an aging workforce in Wheeling, Illinois, High School District 214 partnered with 950 industry partners to start the Career Pathways Program, which provides more than 12,000 students from six different high schools exposure to real employment opportunities.
Headquartered in Chicago, McDonald’s invests in its’ employees across the country through the Archways to Opportunity program, which empowers employees to earn a high school diploma, improve their English, or work toward a college degree.
District 214 offers students the opportunity to earn 39 different industry certifications and to explore career pathways before they graduate from high school, which 95% of District 214’s students do. Maram is one of those students—she discovered her love for electrical engineering through the Career Pathways program and has earned industry-recognized certifications for 16 different machines.
Because of her early exposure to different types of engineering through the Career Pathways program, Maram is attending college to pursue electrical engineering and is already saving time and money by starting college with a set path.
McDonald’s is “America’s best first job,” and it is also investing in its employees to prepare them for whatever career pathway they might take in the future.
Headquartered in Chicago, McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program helps employees work towards a high school diploma, improve their English skills, pursue a college degree, and receive education and career guidance from counselors in communities across the country. More than 27,000 employees have enrolled in Archways to Opportunity since 2015.
In 2007, with more workers exiting than entering jobs in Wheeling, IL, District 214 realized that there was a clear shortage of skilled workers to meet the demands of the community’s manufacturing sector. Innovative school leaders partnered with manufacturers, business leaders and the local department of economic development to carve a path toward workforce readiness.
The Career Pathways program was created, providing more than 12,000 students from six different high schools access to 16 career clusters and 44 career pathways, setting their students up for success after graduation and meeting a critical need in their community.
It’s exciting when I see a student achieving their dreams and finally figuring it out, because we've saved the student both time and money, while also making them happy. Part of the discovery process is about them finding their own place in the world that both contributes to them and contributes to all of us collectively as an American society.
Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Associate Superintendent of High School District 214
Andrea Messing Mathie
Deputy Director at Education Systems Center
We have to create more flexibility for our students to learn how to work in the new economy.