Grant goal will help students chart their career goals, paths

By DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,

Next fall, middle schoolers in Newton County will have a new avenue to plan the rest of their academic careers and beyond thanks to a national grant to the Kemper Newton Regional Library System.

The staff of the J. Elliott McMullan Library has been selected to be part of the 2018 Cohort of the “Future Ready with the Library” grant sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries. The grant is a year-long project of learning and creative development that will help the Newton library build its capacity to get middle schoolers college and career ready.

“We are thrilled to be providing an amazing opportunity for our young people in Newton,” said KNRLS Director Meredith Wickham. “The Newton Library is a modern community and technology hub and is absolutely the perfect place for our local teens to develop readiness for their bright futures in the Information Age.”

Any middle schooler or middle school aged home-schooled student who uses the Newton library will be able to participate in the program.

Wickham said that middle schoolers often need extra guidance especially when charting their academic and career paths.

“A lot of times they aren’t very motivated about school because they don’t understand the paths forward, how going to college in a certain subject is going to help them achieve their dream or how doing an internship is going to lead to the career they dream of,” she said.

In the coming months, Wickham said she and her staff will be reaching out to community organizations to prepare for the on-site programs in which students explore careers and get an introduction to workforce preparation, as well as prepare for college and other educational or training opportunities.

“We’re hoping for at least three community partners. I think the more partners you have the more likelihood of success you have in the long-term and of building something that will continue for many years,” she said.

The programs will be announced sometime in spring 2018.