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Meet FastForward Career Coach: Alyssa Hawley

Patrick Henry Community College FastForward Career Coach Alyssa Hawley has dedicated her career to helping others. That’s why she was recently selected as the Chancellor’s Awardee for Outstanding Achievement by a Rising Star during the 2020 Hire Education Conference.

From narrowing down the right program to choose to sourcing financial aid, creating schedules and even helping to put food on the table at home, Hawley supports FastForward students – both current and future – in any way she can.

From in-home counseling to career coaching.

While earning her master’s degree in Human Services Counseling and Life Coaching from Liberty University, Hawley worked as an in-home counselor and a therapeutic day treatment counselor in Buckingham County. Her education and experience there would prepare her for serving FastForward students at Patrick Henry.  

“Once I finished my master’s, I really wanted to get into the coaching side of things, specifically in higher education to help high school students, recent graduates and everyone beyond find the right career path for them,” Hawley said. “I’ve been able to apply everything I learned while working as a counselor to how I support students at Patrick Henry.”

Supporting students of all ages, backgrounds and life situations.

There is no “typical” student that enters a FastForward program at Patrick Henry and range from recent high school graduates ready to earn a certification and enter the workforce, to adults going back to school later in life.

“Some students that come to us know they don’t want a degree and want to join the family business in HVAC,” Hawley said. “We also have students who have tried academic classes and it’s not for them, as well as those who want a career change even after 30 years in their profession.”

To aide students that enter the FastForward program, Hawley works with local organizations like Virginia Department of Social Security and the SNAP Employment & Training program, HOPE Center Ministries, Virginia Workforce Center, GoodCare, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and several more.

“I encourage students to use resources and use me when they have questions or needs,” said Hawley. “If you don’t understand something, can’t get to class because your car broke down or are struggling because you can’t put food on the table at home, we have so many local resources that I can connect you with. My dad used to say, ‘a closed mouth don’t get fed,’ so always remember that communication is key.”

If you’re considering earning a FastForward certification, remember that you will not be in it alone. There are career coaches across Virginia like Alyssa that are ready to help you through your career path every step of the way.