Vicksburg Warren School District applies for career coaching program grant

Published 3:18 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Vicksburg Warren School District has applied for funding to implement a Career Coaching program in its high schools.

Dr. Prentiss McLin is the Academy Business Liaison and Coordinator for the Vicksburg-Warren School District. McLin said the program would greatly benefit students no matter what their plans are to continue their education or enter the workforce.

“The intent of creating these roles is to broaden the scale of the District’s efforts to ensure that all students graduate prepared for both college and careers,” McLin said.

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The program would be run by Accelerate Mississippi (the state’s workforce development office), which has partnered with the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District (CMPDD), which serves as the intermediary for the grant. Securing the grant would provide two career coaches, employed by Accelerate Mississippi, to be located at offices in VWSD high schools and available to students.

“By and large, the career coaches will be in place to enhance outcomes for students, particularly those outcomes that lead to successful transitions to the workforce,” McLin said. “So the benefit is having the connectivity there for students. Once they have left high school, the hope and the benefit is that they’ll be able to join the workforce and be successful in that.”

While the program will focus on students’ professional skills, McLin said there are benefits the program would provide to students who will not be starting jobs right after graduating high school.

“There are additional benefits, too. In case those students aren’t going directly into the workforce, there’s also a focus on soft skill development, interview skills, résumé writing and skills that by and large will also help them in college if they choose not to go directly into the workforce,” he said. “So it’s a win-win for the students for sure.”

The duties of the career coaches will include Planning, developing, and implementing exploration opportunities, including college campus visits, career fairs, industry visits, and parent sessions. The coaches would also work with high school graduates who have not obtained a higher education certificate, diploma, or degree and assist them in obtaining a post-high school certification.

They would also help students apply for internships, apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities in their area.

The funds are currently being reviewed for approval by CMPDD. Their decision will be announced at a later date. Upon approval, Accelerate Mississippi will begin accepting applications for the two positions.

“There is a clarion call for engagement from the educators, the parents as well as the students, to ensure the efficacy of this career coaching program,” McLin said.