Three local colleges are collaborating to help area adults identify interests and aptitudes and link them to job opportunities in the North Georgia region.
Through a grant from the state’s Adult Learning Consortium and Georgia Opportunities for Adult Learners, three counselors have been hired to administer free career assessments to help adults pinpoint their particular interests and abilities and match them to career clusters requiring those interests and abilities. When additional education or training is indicated, the counselors will help identify possible educational pathways and refer applicants to colleges in the area to begin or complete a degree program.
Three experienced career counselors, Wendy Hanson, Hope Munro, and Joey Sullivan, will be conducting free career assessments and counseling participants at various locations throughout Whitfield, Murray, Gilmer, and Catoosa counties from now through the end of June.
Participating colleges are Dalton State, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Dalton State’s Gilmer Center in Ellijay, and Chattahoochee Technical College. Other community partners that will serve as testing and counseling sites include the Mack Gaston Community Center and Dalton-Whitfield County Library in Dalton, Catoosa County Library, Gilmer County Library, and the Murray County Senior Center.
According to Dr. Sandra Stone, Vice President for Academic Affairs for Dalton State College, “The purpose of this project is to give people an opportunity to spend some time with a professional career planner who can help them identify the possible occupations that best fit their interests and skills, give them information on current and projected marketability of those occupations, provide information on the educational pathway that will most directly lead them to their goal, and guide them to the most appropriate post-secondary education institution to apply, enroll, and get started.”
“We are offering career assessment and planning services to community residents who may have never enrolled in a post-secondary education program as well as to those who may have enrolled at some time in the past and received some credits but who never completed a certificate or degree,” said Stone.
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College is participating in this career program because we have found that a great number of prospective students need assistance in choosing the right major,” said Stuart Phillips, Vice President for Student Affairs for GNTC. “Many do not know where to begin to explore possible college majors or careers.”
“Bringing this valuable resource to the communities we serve together with Dalton State and Chattahoochee Technical College will provide an opportunity for adult learners to learn about available college majors to prepare them for the career of their choice,” he said.
“We believe that being more clearly focused on the front end of the process and having the information needed to get started will encourage people to enroll, reduce the amount of time they spend in school, and get them headed into a desirable career path sooner,” said Missy Cusack, Executive Director of Admissions for Chattahoochee Technical College. “As we all know, a better educated workforce benefits the entire community, and we believe this is one step in getting us there.”
Beginning March 20 and continuing through June, career counseling and assessment will take place in Dalton Mondays, from 9 am to 2 pm and Tuesdays, 2 to 7 pm at the Mack Gaston Community Center and Fridays, 10 am to 4 pm at the Dalton-Whitfield County Library; in Chatsworth Wednesdays, 2 to 6 pm at the Murray County Senior Center; in Ellijay Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 5 to 8 pm at the Gilmer County Library. Dates and times will be added soon for the Catoosa County Library in Ringgold.
Drop-ins are welcome, but participants are encouraged to make a counseling appointment during which time they will explore their interests, skills, and work values. They will discuss possible careers and job outlooks in the North Georgia region.
“We are very excited to have received this career planning grant from the University System of Georgia’s Adult Learning Consortium,” Stone added. “We have been given an opportunity to conduct this pilot project in the Northwest Georgia region to determine if this kind of service is valuable and something they would like to replicate in other areas of the state.” The project is funded by a College Access Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
“We are excited to be working with Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Chattahoochee Technical College on this project, and we are grateful for the enthusiastic support of the many community organizations, government and community officials, and businesses that we have talked to so far,” she added. “We look forward to getting started and we will certainly look forward to sharing the results with the community after our pilot period is over at the end of June.”