by Joe Wyatt Published December 20, 2019 When Kaylee Brogden enrolled in the High School Equivalency (HSE) program at Amarillo College, she was not at all concerned with college-credit courses or career trajectories. She simply wanted to obtain the HSE credential. Fortunately, the 24-year-old mom’s arrival at AC coincided with implementation of a new program called Career Ready You, and in the four short months since she enrolled, her perspective and expectations have changed dramatically. “I got here just wanting to get my high school certification, but now I know exactly what I want to do for a career,” Brogden said. “I want to be a maternity nurse and the amazing thing is, even as it gets harder, it somehow gets easier, too. “I didn’t come here to take college classes, didn’t think I even could, but they talked me into it and it turns out I was underestimating myself. It was so eye-opening. I have a goal now that I believe I can reach – and it’s mostly been free.” Career Ready You is designed with student success in mind, specifically for students pursing credentials in HSE and English as a Second Language (ESL). It works by placing students simultaneously in HSE or ESL classes and in college-credit classes leading to certificates of completion in one of three areas of career interest: Business, Health Services or Industry. Not only are the College’s HSE and ESL classes now offered free of charge, but the first two college-credit classes also are free for students in Career Ready You, and federal financial aid can be applied to subsequent courses. Additionally, Career Ready You students are supported throughout their academic pursuits by career navigators, who provide individual mentoring and instructional assistance. Schedule of Upcoming Orientation Sessions HSE Orientation Sessions Monday/Tuesday, Jan. 13th-14th -or- Wednesday/Thursday, Jan. 15th-16th in Amarillo (8:30am -or- 4:30pm), Hereford (4:30pm), & Dumas (4:30pm) ESL Orientation Sessions Wednesday/Thursday, January 15th-16th in Amarillo, Hereford, & Dumas - (either 8:30am or 4:30pm) “For HSE students, the goal is that they earn their credential within a year, along with at least a Level I academic certificate upon which they can build,” said Kathryn White, who serves as Brogden’s career navigator. “It’s inspiring to see students like Kaylee Brogden become aware of the rewarding careers that are truly possible if they only apply themselves, and Kaylee has certainly done that. She’s definitely on her way.” So is ESL student Jocyln Carrasco, 20, who is steadily gaining confidence in her English language skills as – thanks to Career Ready You – she also gains ground on an associate degree in business technology. “It’s hard sometimes. College classes are challenging, especially when you’re trying to get comfortable communicating in English, but I definitely want to do this and move on to get a bachelor’s degree,” Carrasco said. “I tell myself to never give up, and I remind myself about my family, how it’s really going to make a difference for them when I have a career – how it’s really worth it.” Ryan Francis, Carrasco’s career navigator, says his pupil is exactly the type of student for which Career Ready You was conceived. “She is disciplined and focused,” Francis said. “She’s a model student who pushes through adversity and gets her work done. She is someone who is willing to take advantage of this specially designed program to make sure that she ultimately has a career that provides her and her family with greater opportunity.” Prospective HSE or ESL students who are interested in the opportunities afforded – largely for free – by Career Ready You are encouraged to complete this online interest form. New students are required to attend an Orientation session that spans two days, but each meeting lasts just a few hours. HSE & ESL Orientations are scheduled in mid-January for students who want to take advantage of Career Ready You in the upcoming spring semester. For more information, please call (806) 371-5204. LEARN MORE SIGN UP FOR UPDATES NOTE: Pictured are Jocyln Carrasco, left, and Kaylee Brogden, right.