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Career coaching for high school students in Alamance County

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Cameron Coe is a senior and ready to graduate from Southern Alamance High School. But as he sits down with counselor Alyssa Womble, Coe explains he needs a plan so he can find his future career.

"Alright Cam," Womble said. "Tell me a little bit about what you want to do after you graduate."

Coe's response: "I have no idea."

But Womble is no ordinary counselor. She is the Southern Alamance High School career coach. Alamance Community College and 13 other North Carolina community colleges are backing the first year program. Career coaches work at the high schools. They help students identify their interests and match those qualities to growing career fields like health care, welding and engineering. By talking to Womble, Cameron decided he will study mechatronics at Alamance Community College.

"I'm very excited," Cameron said. "I think it’s cool to be a part of something that’s growing and becoming so big in our county.”

Abby Ballard is just a junior at Southern Alamance, but her discussions with Womble have her on the fast track. By taking online classes, Abby is gaining high school and college credit. Plus, she's preparing for a job in the medical field.

"I love the atmosphere. I love the medical setting. I love the technology that comes with it," Abby said. "Occupational therapy combines my two interest."

Ilona Owens is the director of Career and Counseling Services at Alamance Community College. She feels the first-year career coach program is providing a valuable service for Alamance County.

"This is a critical time, late middle school, high school, to begin identifying what are those career goals, what are the correct steps to get employed," Owens said.

And students at Southern Alamance High School can learn how to gain employment in a growing industry by working with a career coach.

"I really enjoy being able to sit down with the students," Womble said. "Let them know about different careers and opportunities in the area."

Alamance Community College also has a career coach at Cummings High School in Burlington.