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Kelli Yamamoto, a student at Kapi‘olani Community College in Hawaii, had no idea what to expect when she was assigned a "success coach."
“I thought they were just going to share testing strategies with me. They did that and so much more. My coach gave me words of encouragement to not give up which meant so much to me. It’s like having your own personal counselor,” said Yamamota, a health major who is raising three children with her husband and juggling several jobs.
InsideTrack, an organization dedicated to improving outcomes in higher education, is providing one-on-one, executive-style coaching to help students in the C3T Hawaii program balance the demands of school, work and family life. Coaches support students in developing the skills and habits they need for long-term success.
Through a $25-million U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) grant, the University of Hawaii Community College system is targeting education and employment needs in the agriculture, energy and health industries. The system's seven community colleges are providing InsideTrack coaching to more than 2,000 students to boost graduation rates and ensure their students have the appropriate skills to obtain high-wage, high-level employment.
AACC is accepting nominations for its 2014 Awards of Excellence. The deadline is Oct. 31. A new category has been added this year: faculty innovation.
Other community college across the country have implemented similar programs. In Alabama, three partnering community colleges are providing freshmen in certain programs a "life coach" to help them through their first year as a college student. It is funded through a $9.5-million DOL grant. Meanwhile, "achievement coaches" are part of the strategy used by Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) to change the campus culture and drastically improve students success. This spring, the college's CNM Connect initiative was recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges' Awards of Excellence in the category of student success.
A workforce strategy
“Our industry-focused, employer-driven programs are designed to increase college completion rates and provide job opportunities to the C3T participants,” said Erika Lacro, chancellor of Honolulu Community College and principal investigator for the C3T grant program.
Driven by the positive results from the InsideTrack program, the participating colleges are developing their own coaching programs to extend the value of coaching to more students.
For Sabrina Sullivan, academic coaching coordinator at Leeward Community College, coaching has many benefits.
“Students benefit from coaching by having an extra level of support and personalized attention,” she said.
Students receiving coaching are contacted each week. Coaches work with them individually to improve effectiveness in and out of the classroom, build leadership skills, create life balance, boost self-confidence and develop goals.
“I believe that once students understand how beneficial coaching can be for them during their academic journey, students will gain the confidence they need to reach their fullest potential,” Sullivan said.
Lueder is the C3T Hawaii communications director.
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