WACC VISTA Stories: Career Navigator Program

Greg Gormley is the Career Navigator Program Coordinator VISTA at Spokane Falls Community College. In the second year of the project, Greg has focused on expanding the reach of the Career Navigator Program through curriculum development, mentor recruitment and training, and partnering with alternative classrooms. He reflects on the successes and challenges of the program in the following story.

The successful implementation of the Career Navigator Program at SFCC has been the highlight the winter quarter. I partnered with Gateway to College, a program on SFCC’s campus for students between ages 16 and 20. The class and instructor were positive and enthusiastic, and the volunteer mentors also had positive things to say about their experience. One mentor from last year, Kassandra Ortiz, has told us that the program is more structured this year, and the changes made to the content and presentation have made for a more effective program. Another mentor, Iva Laksmana, has seen her self-confidence grown, especially while presenting to a crowd. All four volunteers that have committed the CNP have continued to remain committed, consistently staying in contact, attending training session and meetings, and most crucially, facilitating the workshops held in the Gateway to College class. Based on conversations with the volunteer mentors, a key piece to sustaining their commitment has come from a structured approach to training and frequent communication from my end.

CNP mentors

Mentors Barb Hyer (left) and Kassandra Ortiz (right) lead a workshop session.

Students that participated in the workshops reported increased confidence in regards to their understanding of composing resumes and cover letters has increased, based on the surveys distributed before and after the series of workshops.

For the spring quarter, we have launched the Career Navigator Program at John R. Rogers High School to strong enthusiasm and positive feedback from the teacher and classes, and we will be entering a classroom at Joel E. Ferris High School later this week. With the Career Navigator Program also working with Gateway to College in May, we will be serving over 80 students this quarter across four classrooms!

The Career Navigator Program has produced both tangible and intangible results, and I can’t wait to see how it will impact more students on both ends of the program. The next goal for ensuring that this program remains in place is to connect with other mentor programs on campus, to see if the CNP is a fit and is something that other programs may want to have as part of their mentorship programs.

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