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NWLTC partners with agencies for career coaching

by Minden Press-Herald

Northwest Louisiana Technical College and Webster Parish Schools have entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement to provide all high school seniors in the Parish with college and career coaching services at no cost to the students or their families.

Working with Career Compass of Louisiana, a Louisiana nonprofit focused on improving college and career access for all public school students in the state, all Webster Parish seniors (approximately 400) will be able to meet one-on-one with experienced college and career coaches to discuss career goals and options, post-secondary opportunities and requirements, complete applications to post-secondary institutions, and receive assistance with the application process for federal financial aid.

“Webster Parish Schools is grateful to our partners for their investment in our students’ futures,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls, said. “We are always looking for ways to help our students become productive, well-rounded adults.”

“We are proud to be partnering with Webster Parish Schools and NWLTC on this project,” said Julie Scott, co-executive director of Career Compass. “Capital One Bank’s support of this work represents a true interest in increasing the number of high school graduates who go on to post-secondary endeavors in the state of Louisiana and Capital One Bank’s investment is a huge part of making that happen.”

In Webster Parish, just 18.5 percent of adults aged 25 and older have at least an associate’s degree, according to American Community Survey in 2013. Nationally, this rate is 36.6 percent – nearly double the rate in Webster Parish. This project is aimed at increasing the number of students who apply to and enroll in post-secondary education (technical, community and four-year universities). By the end of the 2015-2016 school year, the goal is that 99 percent of these students will apply to and be accepted into a post-secondary institution that suits their interests and abilities.

“We’ve heard from regional employers that they are experiencing difficulty finding people with the skills they need to fill all their current and future job openings,” said Scott Price, interim dean of NWLTC-Minden Campus. “This project helps put students on the pathway to obtaining the skills, credentials, and degrees that will help them be better qualified to fill those job openings.”

“Louisiana has a population of 4.6 million,” NWLTC interim director Dianne Clark said. “One-half, or 2.3 million individuals, are classified as the non-working population. Of that number, 600,000 individuals do not have even a high school diploma. As educators, we must provide students with the tools they need to earn at least a living wage.”

This project is led by NWLTC’s College and Career Transitions Coordinator and funded through the combined resources of Capital One Bank and NWLTC’s Perkins CCTC grant. The Webster Parish schools involved in the project are Doyline, Lakeside Jr./Sr., Minden, and North Webster high schools.

“At Capital One Bank, we believe that education is the most important determinant to future success, and we are proud to invest in this project to improve college-going rates in Louisiana,” said Rick Larsen, north Louisiana market president for Capital One Bank. “This project encourages students to continue their education after high school. Whether it’s a two-year or four-year school, students who work with Career Compass are applying to and being accepted by Louisiana institutions of higher education. Even more impressive, 75 percent of these students are still in their post-secondary programs.”

In addition to the senior services, all Webster Parish freshmen and sophomores will also receive college and career awareness seminars, and small group Jump Start coaching focused on providing students with vital information about college and career pathways at a critical juncture in their educational careers.

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