Katherine Coates, Workforce Development Services
Preparing to enter the workforce system can be a challenge for anyone, but for students in Virginia’s foster care system, transitioning to full-time work presents a special set of obstacles. Helping to offset some of those challenges and provide resources and support for these students are the coaches in the Great Expectations (GE) program. Founded in 2008, the GE program helps Virginia’s foster youth successfully transition from foster care to living on a family-sustainable income.
This summer, many GE students across the state will begin their first full-time positions. Hope Cox and Kim Atwell are just two of these students from Virginia Highlands Community College.
Cox received her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing and also received a certificate in health sciences. Cox accepted a job with Johnston Memorial Hospital before she even finished all of her classes. She plans to continue on to her bachelors in nursing.
Atwell received two career studies certificates – one in horticulture and the other in organic food/plant production. Atwell found her passion through her horticulture classes and was able to do very well in her newfound interest.
Criss Golden, a GE coach, says that in the end, the student’s achievements will affect more than just the students’ lives. “It is important for the foster care students to join the workforce so that they can become positive citizens of their communities and be able to give back to their community,” he said.
The achievements of the GE students exemplify the importance of solid career coaching, career-driven programs and hard work. Hats off to Virginia’s newest employees!
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