Career coach helps guide area students

Published 1:21 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Giving students options beyond high school is key to Shea Lambert’s job as a career coach for five high schools in Escambia and Conecuh counties.

“Not every student is going to go to a four-year school,” she said.

That’s not to say that Lambert’s job isn’t to help direct students toward a university — one of her favorite accomplishments during her first semester on the job was helping a student fill out college applications and seeing her accepted at three of the four schools.

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“She didn’t know where to begin,” Lambert said of the student.

She is now helping her look for scholarships.

“My job is strictly guidance,” Lambert said, “how they can go to college, how they can pay for college.”

But Lambert also gives students assistance to figure out which path is best for them — a technical degree, job opportunities, or a four-year school.

In addition to guidance about their futures, Lambert also gives practical advice in what businesses consider “soft skills”: how to manage money, how to conduct yourself in an interview, how to conduct yourself on social media — especially since employers are likely to look up your Facebook page.

In the classroom, she might present videos, go over real-world scenarios, or bring guest speakers.

Last week, Lambert and W.S. Neal High School hosted a college and career fair, with 12 area colleges and eight area businesses and organizations participating.

Students had the chance to visit the different representatives to learn more about the colleges and the potential careers.

Lambert said starting early is important for students when choosing which path to take.

Assessment tests can help determine their interests and aptitudes, and there is a state web site at which students can register that walks them through college, technical school and career options, as well as financial aid opportunities.

Lambert works with W.S. Neal, T.R. Miller, Escambia County, Flomaton and Hillcrest high schools in Escambia and Conecuh counties.