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Reflecting on Change and Advice from Career Coaches

As 2021 comes to an end, and the FastForward team reflects on the last 12 months, there is one word that comes to mind to recap the year: resilience. Year two during a pandemic called for continued change and we’re proud of our instructors, career coaches and the students who continued to adapt.

For many of our students, they chose to leave their hourly jobs to pursue a new career, beginning with workforce training at their local community college.

Our coaches continued to see students in a hybrid model and quickly adjusted to meet new needs that arose from COVID-19. Here’s a recap of advice and insight from our career coaches in 2021.

Choosing a new career

Starting from scratch can be daunting, but our coaches are equipped to help students choose the right path for them.

“I would encourage a student who is unhappy with their current job to explore other options that might be a better fit. If a student has no idea what that might be, I work with him or her on some different career assessments as a starting point for researching other options.” – Meghan Copenhaver, our coach at Virginia Highlands Community College.


Work-life-education balance is tough, but FastForward programs are designed to meet the needs of busy individuals.

“FastForward’s short term structure is what saves many students, as time is their enemy. Many of these folks survive by one day at a time. I have worked with many who are hanging by a thread and the sooner we can get them through the class and credentialed the better.” — Barbara Rang, career coach at Eastern Shore Community College.

Utilize resources

Whether students need help with finances, transportation, time-management or putting food on the table at home, our career coaches are connected with a variety of resources in the local community.

“We assist students by using resources such as Single Stop and Network2Work. Also, we connect them to other community partners if they need help that coaching cannot provide. Through coaching we work with students on a plan to achieve their goals (training/career) while balancing life.”  — a career coach from the Community College Workforce Alliance.

Finding a job online

The pandemic caused a big change in hiring processes for many companies, many of which have shifted to digital applications, virtual interviews and all things digital.

“When going through an online application process, it is very important to have all of your information, like names and dates, handy and ready to type into the application. Do not leave anything blank and don’t wait until the last minute to apply.” – Rappahannock Community College career coach Constance Peay.

If you’re still contemplating making a career change or upskilling to move up the career ladder, contact us below, and we’ll put you in touch with your local career coach.