Planning for the future at HMS

Haywood Middle School is Helping Students Plan for their Future

Choosing a career path for an adult can be a daunting task, but the process of finding a suitable vocation ideally starts well before adulthood.

With so many options available, ranging from traditional college to career and technical training (CTE) to computer science, the process for a secondary student to narrow the focus of a potential career can feel overwhelming.

At Haywood Middle School, students are being given a direction and a way to focus their interests in order to start exploring possible career options at an early age.  Using an in-depth aptitude survey from YouScience, students are able to dive deep into what possibilities interest them and give them a starting point on their journey to finding a sustainable and satisfying career.

Principal Michelle Tillman wants to instill the importance of post-secondary options to her students at an early age.

“We talk a lot about post-secondary options with our kids,” she said.  “We’ll have a career fair here and the college events we do in the second semester.”

The post-secondary events aren’t just limited to career and college fairs, though.

Once the YouScience survey results are completed, the rubber meets the road.  Because Haywood High School offers a variety of CTE programs, the middle school students start there in their career exploration.

“When the survey is finished, we’ll disaggregate the data and group the students based on their results.  From there, we’ll get them set up for a tour of the specific CTE program they align with at the high school,” Tillman explained.  “ If they’re geared toward the medical field, they’ll look at nursing at the high school.  During the second semester, we’ll line them up with a post-secondary school that specializes in the student’s interests based on the survey.”

To complete the process, after the tours of the high school and the different post-secondary schools, students are paired with local businesses and business owners to get a real-life glimpse at their career of choice.

“We encourage our students to get their education or certification and then come back and use it here in Haywood County.  We set them up to meet with local businesses and business owners to find out more about the career they want to pursue,” Tillman said.

Because students change their minds as they learn new things or have new experiences, the survey results follow them to high school and they can even take it again should their interests start to change.  This allows the high school counselors to work with students as the students’ interests and aptitudes evolve.

The importance of a program like this cannot be understated, especially now, with the imminent arrival of Blue Oval City.

There will be a plethora of career options when these middle school students graduate in 2026.  Haywood Middle is setting their students up for the most success possible.