PATHS

Graduates from the Postsecondary Access and Training in Human Services certificate program have the opportunity for employment in a career serving people with disabilities or working with children.

The PATHS open house provides prospective students, families and professionals more information and insight into the year-long certificate program offered by the College of Education and Human Development. The event will take place on Jan. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. in rooms 301 and 302 of Rudder Tower.

Attendants and families will be able to speak with alumni, current students, staff, faculty, advisors and partners. The program hosts an open house twice per year, during the summer and in the spring semester. This year PATHS will introduce three new partners to the program, who will attend the PATHS open house.

The college created the PATHS program in partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission with the end goal being employment. The certificate program offers students to follow either the direct support professional track working with people with disabilities, the paraprofessional track working with schools or the child care professional track working with children.

Tracy Glass is the program director of PATHS and has been facilitating the pieces for the program. The open houses are valuable and informative for individuals looking for personal and professional resources, according to Glass. She said she’s excited about the increased interest in the program and expects a large attendance.

“This one is a little more involved than the other one that we have around the summer, just cause we’re right in the middle of our open application period,” Glass said. “Most of the time, people come to get a better idea of what it’s like to be in the program.”

The PATHS program has been phenomenal in changing lives and providing students with careers, said Glass. The open house is an opportunity to learn about the program and its resources.

Glass is anticipating the approval of extending the certificate program to a two-year certificate. It’s an exciting prospect since it would allow the faculty and staff more time with the students and help them provide support to vulnerable populations to a greater extent, said Glass.

“We’re at a great place at Texas A&M to get the latest and greatest research coming down the pipe to help inform our instruction and help drive our decisions to improve our program to where we can better fill the needs of the population that we serve,” Glass said.

Practicum Coordinator Fiona Allen has been working with Glass inviting community partners to attend the open house. She coordinates the internship-like experiences that students gain real-world experience from. The open house allows students to gauge the experiences that they can expect from the program, said Allen.

“This is a good way to see all the aspects that our students are learning in our program, most of our partners come back year after year and request our students, so they have mostly positive feedback from our partner sites that our students are helpful,” Allen said. “Some of our partner sites, they’ll offer to hire our students in their subdivision until they learn to be independent in their job.”

Hannah Haseloss is a student enrolled in the paraprofessional track of the PATHS program, and went to the open house both before and while applying. She said she was uncomfortable at first, but became more confident and comfortable as time went on.

“I’ve grown a lot in the program,” Haseloss said. “I’m more involved and everything, I’m working at my practicum, and everything and that’s all going well.”

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