Submitted by Lindsay Madison, May 6
Spring of 2014, the City of Fort Scott, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and Fort Scott High School formed a Career Exploration Mentor Program with the objective for mentors to serve as a source of knowledge and support in an effort to enhance the student’s opportunity for personal development and workforce exploration and prepare them to be career-ready upon graduation.
Fort Scott businesses have a variety of career opportunities available, and over the past few years have had a limited pool of qualified applicants to fill those positions. After the City and Chamber met with a group of students in the Fall of 2013, it was identified that many students would like to stay in Fort Scott after graduating, but are not fully aware of the employers in Fort Scott, what services and products the businesses produce and how they can make a good living working for those companies.
The Career Exploration Mentor Program was created to benefit students in exploring careers matched to their skills and interests, providing support to create resumes, filling out applications, preparing for interviews and reviewing appropriate questions to ask, learning how to be a successful employee, identifying college programs and scholarships available, or at times simply being a person the student can have for advice on school and life issues.
Mentors are community members that volunteer to be a part of the program and, after passing a background check, are matched with juniors and seniors that are interested in the program and approved through Fort Scott High School teachers Lisa Ward and Jane Campbell.
During the 2015-2016 school year, there were 12 matches of mentors and students who were encouraged to meet twice a month individually, with several group activities also held including a presentation by Colleen Quick, Human Resources Manager for Carlisle Belts by Timken, on interviewing and completing applications, a tour of window manufacturer Peerless Products, and an end-of- year cookout at Gunn Park and presentation of certificates of participation.
Community members and students interested in participating in the program for the 2016-2017 school year may contact Lisa Ward at [email protected] or Jane Campbell at [email protected], or call the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce at 620-223- 3566.
Participants in the program for 2015/2016 school year included: