The Toyota Wellspring Education Endowment Fund at the CREATE Foundation is a $50 million gift created to perpetually enhance education in the eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee (PUL) counties.
The primary focus of the fund is career awareness and readiness. The most recent initiative, via the Wellspring Fund, provides 11 Career Coaches to 14 high schools in the eight PUL school districts. The Career Coaches will help develop the most career-aware graduates, preparing students for postsecondary education and training.
Career Coach responsibilities will include guidance to define students’ career aspirations, certifications, apprenticeships, and workforce training. Additionally, Career Coaches will support students in achieving their educational, career and financial goals while complementing existing school site programs and industry partnerships.
The Career Coach will be responsible for documentation of student/parent/community interaction, networking for business partnerships, and additional training prior to and during the school year.
During the weeks of June 18-26, 2018, the Career Coaches participated in the onboarding process for the upcoming school year. Training included norming procedures for student and school interaction and support, as well as the creation of data templates and presentations to engage parents and students. Additionally, tours of various manufacturing sites coordinated by the Community Development Foundation, and labor market and occupational trends were shared by Three Rivers Planning and Development District.
The Career Coaches will begin engagement by visiting school site personnel prior to the start of the school year. Career Coaches will also speak to various industry and business leadership groups, garnering collective support and networking for the program.
During the school year, the Career Coaches’ targeted student group will be sophomores, yet the Career Coaches will also work with eighth graders, in preparation for and following the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo. Further, the Career Coaches will serve as a liaison supporting the career goals of all students in the PUL Districts.
Suzy Bowman has been hired as a full-time Career Coach for New Albany High School. Bowman, along with her husband Bo, has almost twenty years of experience as owners and operators of Bowman’s Tennis Shop. Suzy has served as Head Tennis Coach at New Albany High School for four years. Most recently, she has worked as a recruitment coordinator for Three Rivers Planning & Development District. This work experience will greatly benefit her as she works with students and industries. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Blue Mountain College in 2018.
“We are excited to have Suzy join our district as Career Coach,” said Lance Evans, superintendent. “Her experience as an entrepreneur and her experiences with Three Rivers Planning and Development will be an asset to our schools as we work toward insuring our students are prepared to excel in college, careers, and life.”
Evans added that Bowman will work closely with the IMPACTO (Industries as a Means to Prepare for Academic, Career, and Technology Opportunities) program. IMPACTO is a pilot program that will be implemented during the 2018-2019 school year for selected juniors. The program will include career readiness classes, internships, and possibly national certifications and/or dual enrollment opportunities.