$440K in Grants for Career Coaching Expansion

Dr. Sheila Jacobs and Career Coaches February 2024
Dr. Sheila Jacobs (far right) and Arkansas Tech Institute career coaches (from left-to-right) Hannah Hays, Erin Aylor, Melanie Dean and Robin Carlton recently attended a career and technical education event at the Arkansas State Capitol.

The Arkansas Division of Career and Technical Education has notified Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus that the career coaching program it oversees under the auspices of the Arkansas Tech Institute (ATI) has been renewed and expanded for the 2024-25 academic year.

The ATI career coaching program is serving Alma, Cedarville, Clarksville, County Line, Hackett, Johnson County Westside, Mulberry, Ozark, Paris, Russellville, Van Buren, Waldron and Arkansas Tech Career Center (ATCC) during the 2023-24 academic year.

Next year, the ATI career coaching program will grow to include Lamar, Mountainburg, Greenwood, Booneville and Pottsville.

In collaboration with its partners at Guy-Fenter Education Service Cooperative and Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative, ATU-Ozark will serve 17 school districts and ATCC in 2024-25 by utilizing $441,774.50 in grant funds from the State of Arkansas.

“The expansion of our career coaching program is very exciting and reflective of the commitment ATU, ATU-Ozark, our educational service cooperatives, our K-12 partners and the Arkansas Division of Career and Technical Education have in assisting students in the Arkansas River Valley with their personalized career pathways,” said Dr. Sheila Jacobs, ATU-Ozark interim chancellor, chief academic officer and principal investigator for the career coaching grants. “In 30-plus years of education, the career coaching program is one of the most impressive, high-impact and student and community-centered programs I’ve ever had the honor of being associated with. The career coaches in our program are 100 percent all in for their students.”

Goals of the ATI career coaching program include increased work-based learning experiences for students and increased communication about career pathways that exist in their home region.

“The mission of the career coaching program is to assist students with comprehensive career development planning by developing strong partnerships with public schools and local industry and community leaders in order to connect students to career and educational opportunities,” said Jacobs. “This is about sustainable economic development that focuses on an organized and cohesive method of regional and state workforce infrastructure development. Arkansas Tech University is uniquely positioned to advance a synchronous workforce education training system through its Russellville campus, its Ozark campus and Arkansas Tech Career Center as well as its numerous K-12 partners.”