A Pathway to Career Feature Story

July 14, 2021

Say hello to Program Finder, where mapping a career pathway from high school to community college has never been easier.

This simple but powerful online tool connects high schoolers in Orange County with career education programs at Orange County community colleges that excel in helping students gain industry and professional training quickly – and for a low cost.

Program Finder is so easy to use, even a Luddite can master it. In just five easy steps, for example, those who might be interested in learning about a career in transportation can: 

  1. Go the Program Finder homepage: www.ProgramFinder.com
  2. Select an area of interest or enter a specific job in the search box
  3. From the options that pop-up, and narrow the search by selecting the one that matches your interests
  4. Click the links to the program websites at the Orange County colleges offering matching programs
  5. Check-out the jobs, salaries, certificate and degree options, and contact information for instructors and department coordinators to learn more.

“Program Finder evolved from the simple idea that there must be an easier way for students to find programs that match their interests,” said Kathleen Reiland, Dean of Career Technical Education & Economic Development at Cypress College who worked with Steve Glyer from Orange County Department of Education in developing the tool for the Orange County consortium of community colleges known as FutureBuilt. “While all community colleges offer general education courses, not all offer every career education program.  Now students no longer have to research the main website of every college to find their program of study.”

Program Finder is also being used by colleges to learn more about what’s being offered at local high schools so they can work with high school partners to create more seamless transitions for students. The simplicity of the system has also made it a resource for employers seeking industry-to-education collaborations. 

Gustavo Chamorro, the Orange County Director of the Los Angeles and Orange County Regional Consortium (LAOCRC), said another feature is being developed to allow employers to list internship and employment opportunities for students.

It’s all part of Future Built’s success in putting people to work in good-paying jobs that fit their interests. Program Finder facilitates higher career education enrollments, student completions and wage gains by better connecting high school to community college career pathways.

Program Finder was developed through a California Community College Strong Workforce Project sponsored by Cypress College on behalf of the Orange County Regional Consortium and in collaboration with the Orange County Department of Education. Program Finder’s industry sectors align with the California Department of Education CTE framework, and these sectors have been matched to the California Community Colleges Career Education programs through a database-driven crosswalk developed by Concentric Sky.