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Cartersville system piloting career-planning program

The Cartersville City School District is piloting a new program in Georgia intended to help students plot a career path before they graduate from high school.

Future Plans is an online career and educational pathway planning tool that helps students discover their talents, interests and work values so they can choose the pathway that leads to the best in-demand career choices.

Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley held a press conference Friday morning in the high school media center to announce the school system’s participation in the new initiative, created by the Pinellas Education Foundation in Florida in partnership with Pinellas County Schools and the Helios Education Foundation.

“Last spring, Terry [Boehm, president of the Pinellas Education Foundation] called us and reached out to us to see if we were interested in being a part of Future Plans, something we’d never heard of,” Hinesley said. “It’s a comprehensive career assessment.”

Boehm said the program has two main goals: do a better job of aligning qualified people with the demand of the workforce and do something about college graduates that “grabbed a major that isn’t in demand or a fit for them.”

“... The idea is let’s give the young people a plan when they leave high school,” he said. “... One of the big problems they face is the angst of not knowing what to do next.”

The program also helps counselors “work smarter” since the national ratio is 500 students to 1 counselor, he added.

Last spring, 25 Cartersville students took the three-hour assessment and received a detailed, printed report that showed their interests, abilities and work values as well as a list of in-demand careers that fit those qualities. This fall, the assessment was given to 700 career, technical and agricultural education students.

“What we heard was, ‘It’s long,’ but boy, it’s really, really informative,” Hinesley said.

“It’s beneficial, and so I’m excited about looking to how we’re going to continue to use this,” Principal Marc Feuerbach said.

Cartersville is the first school system outside of Florida to use the program, which was provided at no cost in exchange for Hinesley agreeing to introduce it to other superintendents in the state “so that they could have an opportunity to make an informed decision on whether they wanted to participate or not,” he said.