According to the Wikitionary (source) the definition of the word pathway has two meanings:
A footpath or other path or track.
(biochemistry) A sequence of biochemical compounds, and the reactions linking them, that describe a process in metabolism or catabolism.
Wikipedia has several references to the term, and this one is connected to community colleges and federal education policy initiatives via Career Pathways:
Community colleges coordinate occupational training, remediation, academic credentialing, and transfer preparation for career pathways initiatives.
Career pathways models have been adopted at the federal, state and local levels. Given their cross-system nature, states often combine multiple federal streams to fund different elements of career pathways models.
Pathways bring to mind hiking, garden walkways, and, perhaps an emphasis on choices leading to serendipitous discoveries. When is one’s career path ever linear?
What are the most effective career pathways for community college students?
See also [other links about educational policy here]