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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Mentoring Program for Career Training is in Demand for Houston County
Houston County Courier -  March 2009

By Sharron Randall
Staff Writer

A working lunch Wednesday, Feb. 25, brought educators, hospital districts, chambers of commerce, and citizens together to formulate a plan for developing a mentoring program that will assist individuals in choosing a career path.
Attending the forum was Angelina College President Dr. Larry Phillips; Crockett High School, Principal Mark Giles; Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation, Executive Director Tim Culp; David Bridges, Grapeland Hospital District; Benford Frizzell, president of Houston County Retired Teachers; Jake Caprilian, chairman of CEIDC, Karen Johnson, director of WorkForce Solutions, Alice Armiston, retired educator and grant writer; Linvell Price, Deep East Texas College TechPrep Partnership director, and John Jenkins, retiree and visionary for this project.
Culp provided a "quick history," by stating that the idea for a vocational mentoring program for Houston County was brought forward by Jenkins, first in 1994, which did not materialize; then in 2000 and again in 2005.
He said, "The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing," a figure of speech that Culp said might explain the failure of Jenkins' idea. 
"Now," Culp said, "We need to pool our resources and work together in a partnership. In other words, all hands on deck!"
The discussion brought out that the time seems to be right for a vocational mentoring program, which will cover several different career areas appropriate to Houston and surrounding counties, that would involve local citizens, including retired teachers, electricians, engineers, plumbers, healthcare workers and in the fields of journalism, paraprofessionals, machinists, criminal justice and general business.
A strong emphasis will be placed on healthcare careers in the field of nursing and nursing home care in the beginning.  Angelina College already operates a LVN/RN program, which is housed in East Texas Medical Center-Crockett.
Plans to construct a technical/vocational facility began over two years ago.  Without going into a great deal of explanation, Culp said the USDA funds just "faded away" and CEIDC didn't get the funding it needed, but now, funds are available and he should be able to make an announcement within 10 days or so about completion of the Houston County Vocational/Technical and Higher Educational Facility.
Career mentors/specialists would need to go into schools to prepare and direct students, as early as 7th grade, in making career choices, finding out about required education, learning about financial aid and scholarships, and filling out a resume--all of which they will need to know in order to become successful in their selected career.
Several programs were mentioned, specifically "Kuder," a new on-line computer program directed towards high school students in making career choices; there are presently 45 site licenses issued for this program.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, attendees seemed to agree that some type of mentoring program was necessary to prepare the youth of the communities in Houston County in making career choices.
Further study, research, and partnering are in order.


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