Twelve months ago, CFES Brilliant Pathways unveiled an ambitious plan to train over 5,000 K-16 educators, business leaders, and community volunteers to become College and Career Readiness Advisors by 2022. The initiative was in response to what we were seeing in schools across the country: students falling through the cracks due to an unacceptable counselor-student ratio of 1 to 475 and the fact that underserved students get pathway-to-college and career advice from teachers, pastors, coaches, business and community leaders and many nontraditional sources.

After holding just five workshops in a handful of states, COVID-19 hit and changed everything. Almost immediately we started hearing from teachers in our 150 CFES schools that students needed college and career support like never before. Instead of postponing our trainings, we realized that we could train even more advisors by hosting an ongoing series of virtual CCR Advisor training workshops.

The first of these trainings was held on August 25-31 with 50 participants from eight states logging-on to the opening live session, followed by five pre-recorded sessions and a live closing. Sessions focused on equipping individuals with tools and strategies to advise students along the college and career pathway; the importance of mentoring, the CFES Essential Skills; college readiness; paying for college; career readiness and topics of today, including the role of virtual support.

The virtual format allowed for a broad range of participants including community members, business leaders, teachers, coaches, college students and retirees.

Upon completion of the sessions, participants were asked to review their experience. One attendee said, “Every presenter was down to earth and spoke in laymans’ terms. Too often I have been to workshops where every acronym and theory needs to be explained or rephrased when I go back to share with my fellow teachers. This training motivated me to create new college and career lessons for middle school students.”

Registration is open for the next CCR training on October 25-November 2 as part of the CFES Virtual National Conference or for the next session on November 10-16.

Participants are awarded a Level I, II and III CCR Advisor Certificate, credentialed by the University of Vermont, that can be used by teachers for professional development credit. In New York, for example, the seven hours of credit can be applied toward Continuing Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (CTLE) credits.