Welcome to the
Learning Center.

Welcome to the Mentor and Mentee Learning Center


Exploring Pro-Pathways

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Key Takeaways: 

  • Professional pathway exploration can happen with your mentee at any stage of the iMentor program. All of our students are required to apply to at least one college, but we encourage you to talk to your mentee about pro-pathways if they don't seem interested in college.
  • There may be a variety of reasons why your mentee does not want to go to college after high school. Some might have ambitions that are best pursued in a certificate or technical program, others might want to go to the military or participate in a gap year program. And some might not be meeting graduation requirements, or have a lower GPA, and will want to explore non-academic options. Others will opt to find employment.
  • You as a mentor are here to help in the process by being a thought partner in helping them discover their ambitions, research of post- secondary options best for your mentee, and  evaluate these options with your mentee.
Roles for Mentors:
  • Coaches
  • Thought Partner


Pathways iMentor Supports

Certificate and Vocational Programs

Use this handout to explore certificate/ vocational programs with your mentee. 

Certificate Programs

A Certificate Program is a series of courses providing in-depth study, so you can get the most up-to-date skills and information you need in a specific field. If your mentee is interested in a certificate program, visit their local community college website. Many colleges offer certificate programs as a part of their Continuing Education courses.

Example: Bronx Community College Automotive Technology Certificate (New York)

Example: Evergreen Valley College Medical Assistant Certificate (Bay Area)

Certification Programs

Certification programs are affiliated with professional associations, trade organizations, or private vendors interested in raising industry standards. Students are usually evaluated against predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, or competencies. 

The most common certification programs are usually in the IT field. Some of these programs can also be found on a college website or are offered as a part of a training program through a nonprofit. 

Example: Year Up

Example: NPower Tech Fundamentals Certification

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeships combine hands-on work with classroom learning for on-the-job-training to train the apprentice. Apprenticeships are considered full-time employment. As the apprentice is learning, they are also applying the lessons through working. 

Most of these programs are offered through trade unions such as plumbing, carpentry, and electrician.

Example: Job Corp Training Program

Gap Year Programs 

Use this handout to explore gap year/ service year programs with your mentee.

Gap Year Programs enable students to engage in experiences that develop skills and broaden their mindsets, before going to college. A “gap year” is a period between completing high school and beginning college. During this time, students take a break from traditional school to work in a field of interest, volunteer locally or abroad, participate in artistic training programs, etc.

Example: City Year

Example: Public Allies


Use this handout to explore military options with your mentee. 

If your mentee wants to join the military after high school, help them research enlistment options, come up with questions to ask a recruiter, and identify which branch they are interested in. 


Use this handout to explore employment with your mentee.

If your mentee wants to work after high school, help them prepare for job interviews: support on their resume, help them identify the best job opportunities for growth (management potential), practice their interview skills and think about what is the best outfit to wear for an interview.

Finding Programs 

When supporting your mentee with researching and applying to pro-pathway programs, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Eligibility requirements - age requirements, residency, time commitment, application requirements, etc can help a mentee determine if the program will be a good fit.
  • Benefits - what will your mentee get as a result of participating in this pathway/program? (ex. certification, union membership, job placement support, professional networking, etc)
  • Legitimacy - is this program accredited? Will it lead to secure employment? 
  • Cost -  what are the tuition/ training costs?

We also have Pro-Pathways Directories for you and your mentee to learn more about your mentee's non-college options.

Guidance for Support

As a mentor, it is important that you do not allow your own bias and judgment to influence your mentee’s choices. This is one of the most challenging aspects of your role as thought partner for your mentee’s post secondary pursuit. 

You may have joined the program to help a young person graduate from college, but your mentee may be committed to the idea of trade school or the military. If trade school is the right career pursuit for your mentee, your role is to help them  find their highest career aspiration within that industry, and understand the education or training needed to launch a successful career.