TNCC Summer Camps to Expose Area Teens to Future Careers in Manufacturing, Industry and Technology

Published: June 12, 2007

Many local area middle and high school students will be off to camp this summer but not just any ordinary summer camp. Thanks to the Office of Outreach and Recruitment at Thomas Nelson Community College, and the Fabricator and Manufacturing Association (FMA), these campers will be on the fast track to charting their career plans and future professions.

The College’s Office of Outreach and Recruitment is sponsoring two free summer camps for students in grades 7 through 10. The first camp is scheduled for June 25-29 with activities from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Historic Triangle campus, Williamsburg, Virginia. Beginning July 30, the second camp will run daily from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. through August 3 at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center in Hampton. Each camp can accommodate 10 to 25 students, however space is limited, said Dr. Crystal Taylor, Outreach and Recruitment Director.

She explained that the weeklong camps will focus on expanding students’ horizons in the career decision-making process and enlightening them about opportunities in the manufacturing and fabricating industry. The camps are designed to expose students to a variety of careers and professions giving participants individualized career and educational development plans to share with their parents and guidance counselors for support in accomplishing their goals.

“The camps are beneficial to students who are undecided about a career path so their participation will allow them to experience activities that we hope will pique their interests in specific career fields,” Dr. Taylor said. “These types of programs will continue with minor variations but the main focus is to expose students to real world encounters in specific careers.”

Thomas Nelson career coaches Doris Parks, Joyce Watson and DeBorah Littlejohn will be facilitators during the camps. Parks is based at Phoebus High School, Watson at Jamestown and Lafayette High Schools and Littlejohn is based at Heritage High School. Career coaches are community college employees that work in local high schools as part of a Virginia Community College System (VCCS) initiative. They help students define career aspirations and recognize community colleges as viable means to achieve their goals.

The three coaches advise students and their parents of career exploration and planning opportunities and high school to community college transitional programs such as dual enrollment, articulated credit, and Path to Industry Certification. Career coaches also advise students on career pathways accessible through secondary and post secondary career and technical programs, apprenticeships, and industry certifications and licensures. The goal of the VCCS’ career coach initiative is to increase the number of high school graduates prepared for employment and/or community college enrollment in a career and technical field. Dr. Taylor said while the concept of career coaching is not new, exposing high school students to individualized career coaches is unique.

Michelle Manfred, a TNCC adjunct instructor and Career Services and Job Placement Coordinator, will also facilitate the camps. Working under the Southeast Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline (SEVAMP) grant, Manfred’s goal is to place candidates in manufacturing jobs.

The year marks the second time Thomas Nelson Community College has sponsored career exploration summer camps for local and area teens.

“We are excited about the success of Outreach and Recruitment to date. We have excellent relationships with our local school systems and these collaborations truly promote strategies to help students achieve educational and career focused goals. We have made some positive strides in recruitment for Thomas Nelson and we have an array of initiatives on tap for the future to continue the pace,” said Dr. Taylor.

For more information, please contact the Office of Outreach and Recruitment at (757) 825-2905.

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Release #07-0645

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