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Program Offers Mentoring, Tutoring to Select Northern Kentucky Students

The Northern Kentucky Education Council has launched NaviGo Scholars, a one-on-one coaching and mentoring program for high school students that engages businesses in the future of these students and responds to business demands for a trained and educated workforce to meet the region’s future needs.

The endeavor represents a unique collaboration involving the leadership of NKYEC, the expertise of NaviGo College and Career Prep Services, and five supporting corporate partners ‒ Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, NA; Duke Energy; Citi; The Bank of Kentucky; and Heritage Bank.

This is the inaugural year for a program that leaders anticipate will grow quickly. NaviGo Scholars is expected to gain momentum, attracting more leading businesses to step forward with additional corporate support to enroll more schools and reach more students each year.

For the program’s launch, the five business partners have chosen 33 NaviGo Scholars from 14 high schools in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. These students will have the opportunity to work through a multifaceted, tiered curriculum developed to address the challenges of transitioning to college or career after high school and to empower and enhance students on their path to success. NaviGo Scholars is designed to guide high school students to determine realistic options for college or a career based on their personal interests, academic preparation, and financial realities.

The program is offered by NKYEC through contracted services with NaviGo College and Career Prep Services, a locally-based educational services company founded by educator Tim Hanner. The program costs are fully supported through student scholarships awarded by the participating corporate partners.

In addition, the initiative allows the supporting corporations to select students as NaviGo Scholars who have interests and aptitudes in their chosen areas. The program brings together the student and his or her family with a highly trained NaviGo coach supported by a career-specific company mentor. Using the NaviGo customized curriculum and the ongoing guidance of the NaviGo coach, the students create realistic college and career options after high school.

The NaviGo curriculum – written by professional counselors and administrators – uses an innovative approach to explore the interests, talents and passions of each student and utilizes many resources for students to explore. The scholar curriculum is designed to lead the student to possible career clusters, and eventually to a point of three viable, affordable and achievable postsecondary career paths. Scholars also receive on-going coaching in a wide variety of areas including postsecondary planning, scholarship searches and financial aid support.

The Northern Kentucky Education Council has called upon its corporate partners to support this program:

Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, NA, with head offices in Erlanger, is sponsoring 19 scholarships for students at eight high schools in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. The 19 scholarships will focus upon careers in engineering, advanced manufacturing, and skilled trades.

“For some time, we’ve been thinking about a different approach to recruitment for our future workforce . . . one that could start as students are in middle school or entering high school. We feel it’s become necessary to help younger students understand the great manufacturing jobs that exist in today’s world . . . and then help guide them, and their parents, toward these careers. NaviGo Scholars is the perfect answer to this “let’s start earlier” strategy we were already thinking about,” said Helen Carroll, manager of community relations.

Duke Energy, a Fortune 250 company and the major energy provider in the region, is sponsoring eight scholarships in five high schools in Northern Kentucky with a focus upon careers in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.

“We realize that support of educational initiatives is indeed support of our future workforce. And investing in the workforce of the future takes many forms and requires all of us: schools, parents, government and businesses to ‘be at the table’,” said Rhonda Whitaker, director of government and community relations.

Citi, a global bank, has 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. It is sponsoring four scholarships in three high schools.

“Education is one of the most effective tools we have found to help people improve the quality of their lives, and it is an investment where we believe the community sees the longest, lasting impact. Our commitment not only includes monetary donations to life-long learning educational opportunities, but also spanning further to developing and supporting programs that work to improve the quality of education for all ages and specific job and life-skills training,” said Ryan Helwig, national sales operations support director.

The Bank of Kentucky is the largest community bank in Northern Kentucky with 32 branch offices and over 50 ATMs. It is sponsoring one scholarship that is open to all career areas.

“Sponsoring a scholar recipient and supporting the NaviGo Scholar initiative is another way The Bank of Kentucky can continue our commitment to education in the area. We are proud to be a business partner and sponsor,” said Mark Exterkamp, executive vice president, The Bank of Kentucky.

Heritage Bank, founded in 1990, is a locally owned and operated community bank with 17 branches serving Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant and Pendleton counties. Heritage Bank is sponsoring one scholarship that is open to all career areas with a preference for banking and finance careers.

“Our company core principles include the development of next generation leadership, and helping to create a vibrant environment in which to live and work. Heritage Bank is proud to expand our commitment to educational success by sponsoring a NaviGo scholar, and pleased to continue a long tradition of advancing career opportunities for local students,” said H. Lytle Thomas, president and CEO, Heritage Bank.

The NaviGo Scholars are: (Toyota sponsored) Payton Black, sophomore, Boone County High School; Luke Gormley, freshmen, Cooper High School; Ben Stewart, freshmen, Ryle High School; Brian Bonito, junior, Holmes High School; La’nya McDonald, freshmen, Holmes; Jordan McLean, sophomore, Holmes; Edward Watkins II, sophomore, Holmes; Clayton Eads, junior, Lloyd Memorial High School; Sadi Jo Jones, junior, Lloyd; Kevin Hamblin, senior, Grant County High School; Christopher Maines, junior, Grant County; Robert Pearson, junior, Hughes High School; Lakeia Rush, sophomore, Hughes; Markeya Turner, sophomore, Hughes; Marykya Turner, sophomore, Hughes; Gary Lackey Jr., junior, Withrow High School; Liea Mack, senior, Withrow; Rason Arnold, 8th grade, Woodward High School; Daylan Dallas, 8th grade, Woodward; Daonte Smith, junior, Woodward;

(Duke Energy sponsored) Jordan Boschert, sophomore, Campbell County High School; Foster Loesch, sophomore, Campbell County; Joey Feltner, freshman, Dayton Independent High School; Jessica Lambert, sophomore, Dayton; Nicholas Rovito, senior, Lloyd Memorial; Stuart Smith, freshman, Grant County; Jacob Haigis, junior, Newport Independent; Kyle Wade, junior, Newport Independent;

(Citi sponsored) Chloe Holbrook, freshman, Boone County High School; Byran Padilla, freshman, Conner High School; Alaria Long, freshman, Holmes High School; Toni Zetko, freshman, Holmes;

(Bank of Kentucky sponsored) Nathan Reatherford, Dayton Independent; (Heritage Bank sponsored) Julia Strunk, freshman, Walton Verona High School; Seth Reihemann, sophomore, Crittenden.

Photo via Thomas More College which hosted the event