Career Coach program flourishes

Published 3:50 pm Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of the many special offerings in place at Paul D. Camp to provide access and help students GET AHEAD is the innovative Career Coach program, which the college helped launch across the state.

In September 2004, Dr. Glen DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, announced that a pilot project to put community college career coaches in Virginia public high schools would soon be up and running at 11 of the 23 community colleges with their high school partners.

Paul D. Camp was among this first group, establishing a Career Coach program at Lakeland High School in Suffolk.

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A collaboration between the VCCS and the Virginia Department of Education, the Community College Career Coach project places a community college employee half-time in the high schools.

Each coach serves as an academic and career advisor for students who may be interested in community college offerings, including dual enrollment, Tech Prep, Pathway to Industry certifications, and transitional programs that help prepare high school students for employment, college enrollment, and other career pathways.

Program expansion

Beginning with representation for 13 high schools in 2005, the VCCS Career Coach Program has expanded to serving students in more than 100 high schools across the state today. At Paul D. Camp Community College, two high schools are served by Career Coach Shellae Woodlin: Lakeland High School in Suffolk and Franklin High School.

Targeting high school students who most need career planning services, the goal of the Career Coach program is to increase the number of high school graduates prepared for employment. PDCCC’s career coaches help students define their career aspirations, develop a career plan, develop lifelong goals, connect marketable skills with jobs, and connect with postsecondary programs and services, business and industry, and apprenticeships.

They also assist with the administration of the Kuder Assessment for Path to Industry Applicants; post information for students, community and staff on high school Web pages; publish a student newsletter; and visit classrooms to share information on various scholarships, college programs and courses, community college articulated programs, career planning activities, and employment and job search.

For more information on the Career Coach program and other options available at Paul D. Camp Community College, call 569-6700, or visit