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4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Building 42, Room 214

Washington, DC 20008

Phone Number: 202-274-7106


Paving Access Trails for Higher Security (PATHS) is a training and educational program developed for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) customers by the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS), Economic Security Administration (ESA), formerly known as Income Maintenance Administration (IMA) in partnership with the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), School of Business and Public Administration (SBPA). The PATHS program is in its 16th year of a very successful training program for the District’s TANF recipients. PATHS grew out of a District-wide outreach initiative launched by the school in 1997. Since that time, PATHS has grown and has continued to seek to inculcate the entrepreneurial self-help spirit in TANF participants and to empower them to identify and use resources that will move them along their own personal paths to achieve self-sufficiency and economic stability for themselves and their families.

As a contextualized (integrating job-related literacy) job-skills training program, PATHS employs a wrap-around case management system to address typical and unique barriers of each participant. PATHS also utilizes a battery of assessments (career and literacy) to identify needs and strengths that form the basis of the participant’s personalized plan of action and offers life skills, financial literacy, job readiness, and job search support. Participants engaged in job skills training are drawn from a list of occupations known to be in demand locally, such as Office Assistants, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Home Health Aides (HHA), Hospitality and Food Service Certification Programs. Many program participants completing the program are linked to jobs and/or internships throughout the Metropolitan area.

Central to PATHS’ efforts has been the creation of strategic partnerships with DC Department of Human Services, Economic Security Administration (DHS,ESA), departments in UDC and community-based organizations from the non-profit, for-profit, faith-based sectors, as well as other public agencies. PATHS continually scans the University and the community at large to identify new opportunities, resources, and partnerships to assist TANF participants.

The PATHS program is designed to emphasize key competencies that TANF customers must demonstrate in order to achieve self-sufficiency. These key competencies include satisfactorily performing workplace duties, achieving academic goals, and meeting family needs and responsibilities. Each training program is built on a contextualized learning platform. This platform provides opportunities for participants to practice and aptly apply learned skills and knowledge in real life workplace situations and environments. Many of the trainings are also facilitated in industry specific simulated workplace labs. As clients practice through contextualized learning experiences, confidence is fostered and professional development is enhanced. Key components of the PATHS Program are:

  • Assessments for literacy and career endeavors
  • Comprehensive case management
  • Outreach and retention
  • Job Development
  • Internships, rotations, and volunteerism
  • Family literacy and life management
  • Mentoring and Support Services


The Process:
Participation in the PATHS program requires a referral from TANF Operations to PATHS. Once referred, participation begins with orientation and ends with the program’s completion ceremony. An overall view of PATHS process is outlined below:


Wrap Around Case Management

PATHS provides total wrap-around services that incorporate a variety of services and resources from both the University community, District agencies, and community based partners while addressing and responding to individual needs.