Angela Lawhorne, an adult career coach at Paul D. Camp Community College (PDCC) in Franklin, Virginia, rarely has a “typical” day. Her team is prepared to help anyone who walks through their door with training and job placement. Adult career coaches and the individuals they help act as a team to set an end career goal, and then work backwards, on a pathway to obtain that goal.
The city of Franklin is small and rural with a population spread out over a large area. The majority of residents prefer not to drive far for employment. Despite these obstacles, Lawhorne and her team have provided services to over 766 individuals since 2012, outperforming all other Virginia Community Colleges.
Adult career coaches help individuals make decisions about education, admissions, and financial aid. They even go so far as to assist with resume writing, setting up internships and helping students prepare for interviews. Adult career coaches also work closely with local businesses to ensure individuals have the necessary skills to meet their workforce needs.
Lawhorne began working with Michael, a 31-year old disabled Marine Corps veteran, in October of 2012. Faced with a myriad of challenges, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the need to support a family, Lawhorne and Michael mapped out a plan to manage these stressors while continuing school and job searching.
Thanks to the support of Lawhorne, Dr. Carletta Perry, an adult career coach and Doctor of Psychology, and a veteran’s representative from the Virginia Employment Commission, Michael was accepted in and started the Huntington Ingalls Marine Coatings program in September 2013.
Come this May, Michael will have completed a non-credit workforce program and earned a credential. He will also have earned two associate degrees and a permanent full-time job.
To recognize and professionalize the important work of Virginia’s adult career coaches, the Virginia Community College System is launching the nation’s first Career Coach Certification. This program includes a total of 30 hours of training with the addition of 10 face-to-face hours of instruction and collaboration with other coaches.
“We are excited to create a statewide Career Coach Certification program,” said Caroline Thurston, the Director of Adult Career Services at the Virginia Community College System. “The coaches are changing people’s lives all over Virginia.”
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