Cass County Presents The 4-H College and Career Readiness Club

August 5 – This spring, Cass County launched a new club to prepare students for higher education and the 21st century workforce. The 4-H College & Career Readiness Club (C&CRC), led by club manager Larry Allen, was specifically designed for students in grades 8 through 12 with the goal of building a college readiness culture for the next generation of leaders. With support from Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension 4-H & Youth Development Program, C&CRC was able to partner with Higher Education & Learning Professional Consulting, Inc. (HELP) to provide intentional college readiness support. HELP Consulting, based in College Station, is a nonprofit that specializes in helping students get to and through college and graduate school, and move on to careers.

Since May, the club has enrolled 24 members and offered two workshops (College & Career Readiness Assessment and ACT Diagnostic) which were delivered by the higher education experts at HELP Consulting. HELP President Dr. Edward Tarlton and Vice President Dr. Robert Harper guided interactive sessions to help students better understand their non-cognitive strengths, broaden their awareness of career opportunities, and make informed decisions about their individual pathway from classroom to career. Each workshop participant received an individual College & Career Readiness Profile Report – which compiled a snapshot of their assessment results and connected them to matching occupations as well as college majors that support their career interest.

“Members were super excited about identifying career pathways that matched their results and I’m looking forward to utilizing the cohort data report from HELP to implement intervention activities throughout the upcoming school year,” said Mr. Allen, club manager for C&CRC.

Moreover, in partnering with HELP Consulting, C&CRC has the ability to strategically implement intervention strategies, appropriately match students with mentors and shadowing opportunities from the evidence-based assessments and encourage more student participation in 4-H programs that match their career interest. Another benefit of the partnership is that every member will have 12 months of online access to ACT test prep materials which consists of 6 full practice tests and over 1,900 practice questions.

C&CRC is not only addressing a relevant issue, which was identified by the 4-H Program Area Committee, but also aligning with the National 4-H Strategic Plan. Some of the local school districts have already seen the potential benefits, and are contributing to the program. So far, three schools (Linden-Kildare Elementary, Linden-Kildare High School, and the Atlanta Middle School) have provided computer labs and classroom facilities to accommodate members. Also, the Linden City Council and the Community Services of North East Texas (CSNT) provided meeting space for workshops and planning sessions. This program has the potential for a wider outreach within the underrepresented audience that we are currently targeting. It started out as a club level effort, but has already become a county wide or even a multi-county 4-H program.

For the 2019-2020 school year, Mr. Allen and I are eager to provide the members with opportunities to examine factors that underlie learning, success, and personal development in higher education. We plan to increase awareness of C&CRC and partner with other extension agents to develop a college readiness culture with the club members they oversee.

John Ferguson




John Ferguson
Cooperative Extension Program, 4H and Youth Development
Cass County Agent