A beneficial way to help students establish their career goals, make career decisions, create a plan of action, and overcome any obstacles that may be in their way, career coaches at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas are making a positive difference in the schools they serve.
A beneficial way to help students establish their career goals, make career decisions, create a plan of action, and overcome any obstacles that may be in their way, career coaches at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas are making a positive difference in the schools they serve. Upon learning that Central High School senior Nicholius “Drew” Bullard was planning to pursue a career in music production, PCCUA career coach Florida Burnside put together an invaluable connection for Bullard, taking him to meet Tim Pryor at PCCUA. Pryor, who is the technical director for the Fine Arts Center auditorium and a fine arts instructor, took Bullard under his wing. Pryor took Bullard and Burnside on a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes tour of the PCCUA Fine Arts Center. With the recent PCCUA/HLT production of 'A Broadway Celebration” underway at that time, Bullard got a close-up look at show development and production, lighting and sound production, and scenic design. Pryor gave Bullard an overview of all areas of theatrical production including stagecraft, scenic design, and lighting and sound design. Julie Goings Strayhorn, PCCUA High School Relations director, said, “Bullard was able to put his hands on scenery and the sound board, operate the stage lights and walk the 'catwalk,' seeing the inner-workings of lighting for a stage production. You could tell in this young man's face that he enjoyed every minute of learning more about the field of technical production, and now he is more excited than ever about pursuing his career!” Career coaches are trained to provide high school students with assistance in the areas of academic tutoring, career counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other support necessary for postsecondary education/training access, retention and success. Provided through PCCUA, the coaches are in the local high schools daily exploring career goals and empowering students with new information about college and career training programs. Burnside is located at Central High School, while Tia Williams is stationed at KIPP, Marvell and Barton Schools. Part of the Arkansas Works grant, this service is designed to help impoverished areas increase the college-going rate, increase the number of students taking the ACT and applying for Financial Aid, and reduce the number of students needing remediation upon entering college. Strayhorn added, "By linking high school students to our career coaches, we are able to strengthen their path from high school to college and help ensure the success of that transition.”