The problem: in 2018, just 52 percent of Texas high school graduates enrolled in postsecondary education (two- or four-year college or trade school), and only 19 percent completed that education.
Solution: the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 5, requiring eighth-grade students to choose academic tracks, called endorsements, they want to follow in high school in pursuit of a career, to give students an early start on their areas of interest and increase their chances of success in college and careers.
Complication: unfortunately, many middle and high schools lack the career-planning resources to help students make an informed endorsement choice.
Result: without adequate guidance in middle and high school, a majority of students exit secondary education without a clear plan for the future.
High School Career Connect addresses that gap in career preparation.
Working with middle and high schools in Denton County, Texas, HSCC provides students and their parents with career assessments, guidance, and planning resources.
HSCC conducts one-on-one mentorships, class presentations, assemblies, workshops, and fairs to provide students with the career resources needed to navigate their desired career path. HSCC’s staff also provides resources on collegiate ﬁnancial aid and admissions procedures.
As a result, students facing postsecondary education decisions are armed with:
● suggestions on majors
● strategic plans for coursework, campus activities, and student employment
● information on getting into the school of their choice
This information helps the student graduate in a timely fashion (and therefore with less student-loan debt) with an enhanced skillset and increased employment potential.
At the core of HSCC is peer-to-peer mentorship.
HSCC’s mentors are UNT students. Having recently gone through the college-admission process, they understand HSCC's target audience. The mentors undergo extensive training from HSCC’s full-time staff, all of whom have graduate-level degrees, mostly in educational counseling.
HSCC’s professional counselors oversee all aspects of the program, while the UNT student mentors facilitate career guidance. Mentors represent:
● UNT's diversity, as nearly fifty percent of our students identify as minorities
Our mentors are diverse in ethnicity and socio-economic status, personifying postsecondary access and persistence. Mentors are also prepared to discuss admissions and ﬁnancial aid concerns, enabling them to assist participants in overcoming college access barriers.
HSCC’s involvement, however, does not end in high school. Participants who enroll at UNT have access to UNT’s Career Center and Career Connect Program, preparing students for the workforce through:
● portfolio development
● assessment of skills, knowledge, interests and workplace values
● current market and employment trends
High School Career Connect was formed in 2017 with a grant from the Greater Texas Foundation and support of the University of North Texas.
At its onset, HSCC worked exclusively with schools in Denton County, but it has begun expansion into other north Texas counties.
HSCC is a department within UNT’s Division of Student Affairs, which includes UNT’s Career Center and Career Connect.
HSCC's offices are in Sage Hall in the heart of the UNT campus.