Navigating Northern Kentucky’s Talent Pipeline 

Oct 6, 2023

NaviGo continues decade-long work to help students achieve, aspire to careers.


NaviGo empowers middle and high school students to determine their talents, strengths and aptitudes to help them create personalized career plans for their futures. Those plans might include a four-year degree, a two-year degree, a trade school, or immediate entry into the workforce.

“Students may have aptitudes for careers they may not even know exist,” says NaviGo Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Burkhardt. “Allowing students to find out who they are helps them determine what they want to do with their lives. Through career exposure, exploration and industry sector work-based learning experiences, students can figure out what careers match their interests, talents and aptitudes and which ones that don’t.”

Dr. Burkhardt says both are equally important so that students do not waste time and money after high school pursuing a career they later find out they hate.

As they say, this work takes a village and everyone plays a role in helping our youth determine their future plans. NaviGo partners with schools through the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services to help provide individualized coaching and work-based learning opportunities and resources to member school districts (which include just about every school district in Northern Kentucky). That partnership helps NaviGo stay informed about student needs while trying to assist schools in the many student-focused college and career efforts they already have in place. Combined with the work of many regional partners and businesses through GROW NKY (Growing Regional Outcomes through Workforce), that creates a powerful collective impact aimed at strengthening the regional workforce pipeline.

The overall goal is to create work-based learning experiences and industry-specific training for high school students that offer viable careers upon graduation. NaviGo NKY College and Career Connector Lorraine O’Moore says this will also reduce Northern Kentucky’s population of “Opportunity Youth,” a national term that applies to the 6,000 Northern Kentuckians ages 16-24 currently not in school or working. O’Moore says her connection with the students is the most rewarding aspect of her role.

John Braden, who facilitates NaviGo Career Services and works directly with opportunity youth students agrees.

“Working with students and helping them make career connections is extremely rewarding,” says Braden. “The work also fits within the framework of goals outlined by GROW NKY, which seeks to leverage the region’s assets to ‘grow, attract and retain a globally competitive workforce.’”

The efforts of GROW NKY Partners have also created an online work-based learning platform called MyCareerE3 to assist students in locating career-based learning opportunities provided by businesses in the region.

Jennie LaMothe, NaviGo’s Director of Coaching and Operations, states that YouScience is an indispensable tool in assisting students in the Northern Kentucky region and calls it a game changer for students. The YouScience assessment uncovers students’ aptitudes and then connects their aptitudes and interests to real in-demand careers. “YouScience builds hope by providing students with impactful feedback about their own strengths and aptitudes,” LaMothe says.

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