Guiding Students From High School Through College

For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2008

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
svoth@lfcc.edu
Phone: 540-868-7134

MIDDLETOWN and WARRENTON, Va. – According to the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), 26 percent of students entering the ninth grade in Virginia do not receive their high school diploma within four years, and 60 percent of these same students do not continue on to postsecondary education. In an effort to decrease these statistics, the VCCS, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education, has developed two programs that work together to assist students — career coaches and career pathways.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) currently employs two career coaches and is seeking funding for a third position. Career coaches are community college employees who work in local high schools. These individuals assist students in developing career plans, choosing a college, connecting with business and industry and preparing for job interviews, as well as other career exploration and college readiness activities. Preliminary data from the VCCS reports that in high schools where a career coach is present, 40 percent of students without college plans now plan to pursue higher education.

The other piece of the puzzle is the establishment of the career pathways program. In aligning with the U.S. Department of Education’s career pathways initiative, LFCC has developed career pathways in 16 career clusters. Career pathways give students models that they can follow from high school through their postsecondary educational career. The pathways provide a sequence of educational steps with multiple entry and exit points – from certifications, licenses and certificates to associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and beyond.

“Following a career pathway enables students to have multiple entry and exit points. For example, a student who graduates from high school and pursues obtaining certification as a nursing assistant or who has completed a similar program while in high school can enter directly into the workforce, or the student can opt to continue his or her education by following the career pathway and pursuing an associate degree in nursing, medical lab technology or another health profession,” said Brenda Byard, director of high school outreach and interim dean of business, math and technologies at LFCC.

High school students can access this valuable career pathways information through their high school guidance counselors. Each year, LFCC updates its career pathways information and provides it to high school guidance counselors in the College’s service region.

"Career pathways information is available to all students," Byard said. "We encourage students in late elementary grades and certainly middle grades to take a career assessment such as Kuder, which is available at all public schools in the state. This assessment will help a student to identify possible career interests. Then, as students begin high school, they can follow a career pathway by pursuing courses that will enable them to earn certifications while in high school and possibly college credits through the Dual Enrollment Program. Career pathways are for all students, regardless of whether they are pursuing core academic subjects or career and technical education courses."

LFCC will host a career fair for school divisions in the College’s service region on March 18, 2008, at the Middletown Campus. Selected high school students from area school divisions will attend career information sessions on construction trades and apprenticeships, education, emergency medical services, industrial technology/engineering, information technology, law enforcement/crime scene investigation, medical coding/billing, paralegal and nursing.

For more information about career pathways, interested individuals may contact their high school guidance counselor or LFCC’s High School Outreach Office at 540-868-7149.

*************************

Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

###