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DRF Supports DCC Career Coaches

Shannon Hair (second from left), Danville Community College’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Development and Executive Director of the DCC Educational Foundation, shows his appreciation to Clark Casteel, Senior Program Officer at the Danville Regional Foundation, which recently awarded a two-year, $168,400 grant to the DCC Educational Foundation to expand the Career Coach program in area high schools. Also shown are Cheryl Terry, Dean of Student Success & Academic Advancement, left, and Angie McAdams, Director of Career Pathways and Placement.

DANVILLE, VA, August 21, 2014 - Danville Community College (DCC)’s Career Coach Program sets up local high school students for academic and career success. Thanks to a $168,400, two-year grant from the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF) to the Danville Community College Educational Foundation, that program is expanding this academic year. These funds are eligible for matching funds as part of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative, a partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education.

Currently, DCC employs three part-time Career Coaches in Danville and Pittsylvania County public high schools: one at George Washington, one shared between Tunstall and Dan River, and one shared between Gretna and Chatham. The grant funds will allow the College to hire three full-time coaches for these schools.

“The DCC Educational Foundation continues to explore meaningful opportunities for investment in the college, which in return will provide further avenues for advancement of our students. This partnership and matching funds will provide the resources required to implement the Career Coach Program portion of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative pilot project. The full-time status of these coaches will afford them additional time with individual students to help guide their choices, so that they can enter DCC with a better chance of success as they complete their degrees and enter into our local workforce,? said Shannon Hair, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Development and Executive Director, DCC Educational Foundation.

“DRF’s investment leverages an additional $168,400 to the region to improve education outcomes,? said DRF’s Senior Program Officer Clark Casteel. “The Career Coaches program, if successful, can provide intensive, personalized college and career planning opportunities to students who may not get that support elsewhere. If the research on career coaching is correct, we could reasonably expect to see 100 plus new students enrolled at DCC over the course of DRF funding.?

According to Angie McAdams, Director of Career Pathways and Placement at DCC and the program supervisor, the Career Coaches previously worked a limited number of hours during the school year. With the program expansion, coaches will now work full time, year-round and will be able to offer more services.

“I am so excited to see the program expand to a full -time status,? said McAdams, who was first career coach at DCC before assuming her current position. “I believe career coaches have a tremendous impact on students and postsecondary success rates. With the program, quality is the number one concern and I believe students who work directly with a coach will be much more prepared for life beyond high school graduation.?

McAdams explained that the Career Coaches will assist students in the following areas: enrolling in dual enrollment and advanced placement courses, planning for postsecondary education, finding internship opportunities, filling out financial aid applications, writing resumes, and searching for and applying for jobs.

“The goal is for each full-time coach to serve approximately 300 students annually,? McAdams said. “The coaches will work directly with students identified as underserved, by definition minority, first generation college, low-income, middle majority academically (2.0 to 3.0 grade point average), non-traditional students entering a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field, and students with any barriers to postsecondary educational success.?

DCC is one of only seven community colleges in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) invited to take part in the two-year pilot phase of the Career Coach Program expansion, as part of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative. The Dan River Region is one of the regions with the lowest educational attainment levels in Virginia, thus the need for a Career Coach program to help students succeed.

DCC has participated in the Career Coach program since its launch by the VCCS 10 years ago. The program ties in with College’s mission of providing “quality comprehensive higher education and workforce programs and services to promote student success and to enhance business and community development.?

Career Coaches also tie in with one of DRF’s goals of building a thriving community. They do this by serving to help students find the “intersection? between what they’re passionate about doing and what skills they have or have the ability to obtain and “emerging opportunities in the marketplace,? Casteel said.

“It would be easier for students and career coaches, as well as institutions like DCC and DRF, if we just had someone tell us what our region’s future opportunities were – but we don’t,? Casteel added. “It’s harder work to build cooperative platforms and pathways with flexibility and lots of jumping off points, but we have to in order to take advantage of constantly changing marketplaces. DCC, and the other educational partners in this region, have proven that they are willing to tackle these challenges and are adept at looking for opportunities to collaborate and leverage resources, while being flexible and willing to innovate.?

For more information about the DCC Career Coach Program, contact the College at 434.797.8520, or click here.


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