‘GREAT THINGS HAPPENING’: New career coaches hired to prepare students for life after graduation

Published 11:00 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

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NATCHEZ — “Great things happening in NASD!” school officials said at the announcement that a new $8 million project preparing students for college and careers is now in full swing.

Career coaches have officially started work in the Natchez-Adams School District.

The Career Coach Program is an $8 Million project made possible through funding received by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered through AccelerateMS. The Career Coach Program will help prepare our high school students for careers in Mississippi through assistance and support from the Mississippi Legislature.

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Superintendent Fred T. Butcher, Deputy Superintendent Zandra McDonald, Fallin Career and Technology Center Director Cleveland Moore, other school officials, and Tuwanna Williams with the City of Natchez met last week with newly hired Career Coaches to plan and set short and long-term goals for the program.

The Career Coach Program is made possible through a partnership with NASD and the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District. The funding applied for through this partnership will support the addition of three career coaches to serve the high school students of NASD.

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.

Angela James, Faith Lewis, and Brianna Walker will lead this initiative in the Natchez-Adams School District.

In a recent training that the coaches attended, they spoke enthusiastically about the untapped opportunities in Mississippi and the existing and potential workforce development initiatives in Natchez and Adams County.

They’ve each said they are excited to start and are encouraged about the career opportunities and exposure that can be offered to students. Their goal is to get input from students to bring in programs, visit industries, and have job shadowing based on student interests.

This multifaceted program will focus on students grades 9-12 at Natchez High School, Natchez Early College, and Fallin CTC. The overall goals of the program are:

·       Increasing student enrollment in Career-Technical Education programs

·       Improving graduation rates

·       Increasing workforce participation in high-demand, high-skilled, high-wage jobs

·       Encouraging more skilled workers’ willingness to stay in Mississippi

·       Facilitating higher retention rates in post-secondary education programs

·       Targeting at-risk students to ensure their successful completion of high school