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Career coaching

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer


Two new faces greeted students in the Hartselle High guidance office this school year.

Joining the faculty is Jordan LyBrand, who moved from Decatur High School where she served as a counselor, and Cory Wilbanks, who joined the school as a career coach from the position of Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce’s director of leadership development. The two joined Dana Gladden, ninth grade counselor in the guidance office.

The roles of guidance counselors have changed over the years, and since a 2012 mandate by state superintendent of education Tommy Bice that every child be college/career ready by graduation, the role has changed even more.

Entering ninth grade students must take a career preparedness class before graduation. This class was added two years ago as a requirement for graduation.

This class enables students to explore careers and even map out career choices and life skills during the class. A career interest survey is also taken during this class. Once the class is completed, the student’s schedule should align with a career that best suits them.

Gladden meets with each freshman and helps him or her to schedule out his or her high school years with classes that would be helpful for the student in reaching their career goals, as well as exposing students to other career opportunities.

Entering 10th grade, LyBrand re-visits each student’s four-year plan and reviews his or her grades and interests. The tenth graders are also encouraged to take either the PSAT or the ACT as an introduction to required standardized testing.

Entering the eleventh grade, students are encouraged to take ACT Prep and get more serious about where they are going and make sure they are on the right career pathway.

Seniors move to Wilbanks, where each student will go through career assessment as

well as fill out interest forms as to what their career interests are and what schools they would be interested in attending. Seniors also start looking at college or technical training since they now have a direction in which to move. The students look at what they want to do and how they will get there.

“In today’s world, everybody needs some type of training, whether it be technical or college,” Wilbanks said. “There is a large need of training now required in the technical workforce.”

Unfortunately, in previous instances, students and parents wasted money and time because no one dug into what needed to be done before students entered college.

Wilbank’s reflected on her own college time when she changed majors after figuring out she was not on the right career path for her. She uses her own experience to help others prevent being in that situation.

Job shadowing has also been added to help students see first-hand what the career choices they make would entail before graduating in that field. There are also electives and groups of classes known as academies that can be taken to explore career opportunities such as IT/AV, engineering, education, agriculture and health professions.

Wilbank’s, LyBrand and Gladden all want to prepare each student for the next step they will be taking before they get to crunch time, or graduation where the rubber meets the road.