The Starke County Career and College Success Coalition will be hosting a meeting this week.
Steering committee member and Knox High School director of guidance Shirley Fosler says it will be an opportunity for local residents to share their ideas about how to give more residents the resources they need to go to college and have successful careers, “Everyone’s invited, and we just need to get some ideas going and some people that are enthusiastic about helping out and making sure people make good choices [that] can lead to a positive career, so that way they can support themselves and their family and have a good future life for their family and their children.”
She says the immediate goal will be to help students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as well as college applications. In the long term, the Starke County Career and College Success Coalition aims to achieve a 25-percent college completion rate by 2025. To help accomplish that, Fosler says they’re working to connect local residents with the resources that are already available, “There’s people out there that want to help our residents and want everyone to be successful in their career, whatever it may be, as well as in college. But some of the people who have questions are not sure how to do that. There’s people who are trying to give guidance and support to everyone, so they can make the best lives possible for themselves and their family.”
However, she says they can always use more help, “We need, of course, business representatives because even businesses in town or in the whole Starke County – and people from outlying areas, too, need to get involved, as well as the government because they can promote things like encouraging students and parents to fill out the FAFSA form and talk about the 529 Savings Plan, encourage employees to do that. So if they get the information, they could possibly pass it on to their employees and even their customers.”
Fosler says this week’s meeting will also include a recap and evaluation of some of the activities in which the Starke County Career and College Success Coalition has already been involved. “The schools support College Go Week in the fall, in which they promote colleges and have different college reps come in and talk to their students,” she says. “Last year at the [Starke County 4-H] fair, we had a table that answered questions. Ivy Tech and IUSB and PNC had tables set up there to answer questions and talk to potential students about their programs and some of the ways they could help the students be successful in those programs. Ancilla College was there, too.” She adds that organizations have also been hosting guest speakers and job training programs. Some have also been setting up job shadowing opportunities for people interested in different careers.
The Starke County Career and College Success Coalition meeting will be held Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Starke County Economic Development Office at 1915 South Heaton Street in Knox.