High School Career Exploration Program Needs More Mentors

Lewis Dunkeson, Communities in Schools Site Coordinator, speaks to the group on Feb. 8. Submitted photo.
The Fort Scott High School Career Exploration Mentoring Program needs a few more volunteers.
The program is a partnership of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce, the City of Fort Scott and the school district, USD234, according to the Chamber website.
Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lindsay Madison told the weekly Chamber Coffee attendees on Thursday that two more female mentors are needed for the students.

“The Chamber’s motivation for organizing the program is related to Workforce Development,” Madison told fortscott.biz. “Our goal is to help the students be on a path to success, but also develop a funnel of employees for our manufacturers and other businesses by exposing students to local career opportunities available.”

“Students may be ready to start working directly after high school or college, or may move away for several years and return to Bourbon County in the future,” she said. “By being part of the mentor program they will be more aware that Fort Scott truly is a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

“Working at a local manufacturer does not exclusively involve assembly line work as students may perceive, there are many great positions to be held in accounting, sales, engineering, welding and other areas that we try to expose them to,” she said.

“Some students are more interested in health care, law enforcement or other fields and mentors will work to set up job shadows or question/answer sessions with people in those careers” Madison said. “Each student’s needs are differently related to their educational goals or career exploration and while we bring the mentors and students together monthly as a group, the mentors work individually with the students they are paired with to build connections and make a positive impact towards their success.”

Currently, there are 14 students enrolled in the program, Madison said.
Once per month a group activity, speaker or tour is organized by the Chamber.
On February 8 at Fort Scott High School, Assistant Principal Alex Specht was the keynote speaker. Submitted photo.
At least one other time per month the student meets with their mentor one-on-one to talk about personal goals, pertinent topics or other issues that the student might have.
Attendees at the Feb. 8 mentoring program at Fort Scott High School. Submitted photo.

The program is funded in part by the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation, she said.

Bill Michaud, the owner of Sleep Inn Hotel and Chamber member,  helps with the program, working with the mentors. Lewis Dunkeson, Communities in Schools Site Coordinator, helps recruit high school students and keeps them informed of meetings, Madison said.

It is an extra-curricular activity, and the high school staff are “very supportive” by allowing extra time at lunch for the meetings, Madison said.

Community members interested in being mentors, and students interested in the program, may contact the Chamber of Commerce at 620-223-3566 or email [email protected].

If you are interested in being a mentor to a high school student please complete the following, which is found on the Chamber website:

Background check authorization.

Mentor Profile Form.

Email: [email protected]; or fax 620-223-3574.

Here are several of the education modules used by mentors for discussion topic ideas for one-on-one visits with the students: basic vehicle maintenance, cooking, driver’s license information, household financing, jobs, and personal health.

The modules listed above were developed by the 2017-18 LEAD Bourbon County class, a leadership program organized by the Chamber.


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