“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This question was asked often when I was younger. I don’t remember my answer as a child, but as I became a teenager, I remember not knowing what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school. Unlike some of my peers, I didn’t have a plan. Fortunately, I had an awesome best friend and a supportive family who encouraged and motivated me to develop and follow through with a plan after high school.
Our school community has been challenged to focus on children’s unique needs, passions, and strengths more so than test scores. We realize that every student is different and has different interests. Life after graduation must be planned for, and what better way to put that plan into place than by having Career Coaches onsite at three local high schools.
The Career Coach position is found across the state and the country! This state initiative is a grant-funded program that partners with the local community college. It was originally a partnership with NC works, but no longer directly partners with them. The community college system wanted to strengthen local industries around the state to assist with keeping these industries alive. The partnership between Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Rowan-Salisbury Schools has been implemented to give students an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge and experience in the possibilities after graduation, before students actually graduate.
The three Career Coaches who serve in Rowan County also serve as Career and Academic Advisors at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer months.
Cavaliers Got It
Omar Crenshaw is the Career Coach at North Rowan High School. In this role Crenshaw assists high school students with career clarity. This position has allowed Crenshaw to expose students to all of their options. Many of them are told about the 4-year and military options, but not the certifications and other opportunities. Students have gotten internships, shadowing opportunities, and access to college classes with this program. They have also been able to see industries in action that they may have not been exposed to otherwise. The students at North Rowan High School also get personalized advising and assistance with connecting with key people related to their goals.
“The goal of my position is to get students aligned with their purpose and desired career path. A secondary goal is to expose them to local industry, resources, and trainings that can assist them with achieving their desired goal,” said Omar Crenshaw.
Raiders on The Move
Hevvon Barnes serves as the Career Coach for South Rowan High School. This Career Coach position has impacted the students of South Rowan and the school community by giving them another resource to explore career options. “Students can meet with me one-on-one to get information about the workforce, explore college options, and look at different internships and job shadow opportunities,” stated Barnes. This role also allows her to collaborate with teachers and other key school staff, such as the Career Development Coordinator, to offer field trips and off-site visits as well as classroom presentations and interactive activities.
“Ms. Barnes brings a wealth of knowledge about resources for post- secondary access that our students need,” stated Dr. Kelly Withers, South Rowan High School principal.
Dr. Withers looks forward to Barnes shaping our “future center” into a true planning resource for kids who are pursuing 4-year, 2-year, or certification programs.
Tracy Harris is the Career Coach at Salisbury High School. Harris spends time facilitating classes so that students are focusing on their career of interest. He also assists students with the Career and College Promise Program.
Harris has plans to focus on certifications and job training programs that are offered by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College by connecting them to the Department chairs. This will give students first-hand knowledge of the careers and the requirements to obtain that career.
“It is important that our students are aware of the options available to them while they are in high school. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Rowan-Salisbury Schools are doing a great job collaborating to inform and prepare our students so they will be successful after graduation,” commented Tracy.
Career Coaches – Benefiting Our Community
Career coaches play an important role in assisting our teachers with making sure our students have the opportunity to explore options of interest, whether it be applying and enrolling in college, enlisting in the Military or becoming an effective employee. Parent sessions discussing college applications, FAFSA, and career goals along with meetings with students who are undecided on what’s next for them have allowed the Career Coaches to connect with parents and students.
Our Career Coaches add value to our support staff and our schools. Since we have been operating as a Renewal District, our teachers and staff will be ensuring that each student is an engaged learner by setting goals based on their unique smartness, career aspirations, and personal passions, and developing interpersonal skills in order to thrive as productive citizens and employees.