Pipeline programs within the field of education have been implemented in a number of communities to provide instruction and activities on higher education and future careers. A pipeline program is an initiative that is, “designed to provide educational and career support” to underrepresented students (Miller, 2016). Within Los Angeles county, USC has created a pipeline program for students. The instructional courses within the USC PA Pipeline Program initially only offered programs to students seeking higher education and a career in the medical field. They have now expanded to include courses on general subjects, such as English and Math, but also specific career subjects. No matter what courses are taught, or what activities are conducted, pipeline programs across the country aim to create opportunities for all students to develop their knowledge and skills to be ready for their futures.
The Impact of the Pipeline
The USC Pipeline Program includes ten sessions in which, “students are coached and mentored to help them navigate through a series of educational and professional workshops” (trojanpa). These workshops include tutoring on English and Math, soft skills development, and career exploration.
In addition to these amazing workshops, and methods of support the USC PA Pipeline program overall aims to, “provide equity, diversity, and inclusion to all youth of different walks of life” (Padilla, 2022). Elizabeth Padilla is USC PA Pipeline program’s community outreach coordinator. She works to,“build a bridge between schools, USC, community partners, and families,” in order to support students. Education is available to all children within the United States, but the access to support and resources unfortunately is sometimes inequitable. The USC Pipeline programs seeks to mend this gap by providing the opportunity for all students, regardless of their background, to have access to support and academic resources. The goal to expand the program is currently being envisioned and will hopefully soon include more students, and opportunities for one-on-one mentorship (Padilla, 2022).
Tutor Zone’s Partnership in The Pipeline Program
Before partnering with Tutor Zone, USC solely focused on medical career exploration within their pipeline program. This was a great start to the program, since typically first generation students don’t have many resources to support them in researching a career in medicine. Through USC’s partnership with Tutor Zone, an SAT preparation course was created which later developed into a college coaching program. Since then, the program has expanded to include middle school level English and Math courses taught by Tutor Zone instructors. Our instructors at Tutor Zone are experts in a number of fields, providing us with the ability to share our knowledge and create an academic foundation for students enrolled in the program. As Tutor Zone’s CEO Manuel Bermudez states, “We bring a new component to the Pipeline.”
The students participating in USC’s pipeline program are first generation students who are able to have the enriching experience of preparing to become competitive college applicants. The college coaching program also provides first generation students with the guidance and support needed to navigate the daunting college application process. The students in the program have amazing experiences to share, and through the program they are supported in sharing these stories.
Tutor Zone’s partnership with the Pipeline program has the goal of expanding to impact more students, but unfortunately gaining participation is difficult through Zoom. As stated by Manuel Bermudez, bringing parents into their children’s college application process is ideal, and will be our goal for the future. Many parents of first generation students undergo the college application process as outsiders due to the belief that they are unable to be supportive and provide resources because of their lack of experience in applying to college. This is a false belief, and by including parents in programs and workshops, students can find communities of support in school, within the Pipeline, and at home.
As for right now we are on a, “great trajectory” (Bermudez, 2022). By spreading awareness on the Pipeline program’s successful impact, and ability to provide support, more students can participate and follow their academic track to successful futures.
By Viviana Cabrera & Natalia Henderson
Bermudez, Manuel. Email Interview. January 13, 2022.
Padilla, Elizabeth. Email Interview. January 24, 2022.