A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

GROW-ing through learning career assessment sessions by Learning Grove continue at library

“What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” It’s an all-too-common question and one that sometimes isn’t exactly the easiest to answer.

Or is it?

If you’ve had trouble with the question yourself, an event series at the Kenton County Public library in Covington is ready to help you find the answer.


NaviGo, the college and career readiness division of Learning Grove, invites Northern Kentucky’s future workforce to learn about which career opportunities it may be best suited for at one of its upcoming YouScience Aptitude Discovery events.

The first session was held in mid-December but there sessions scheduled once a month for January, February and March.

Taking place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Public Library, the monthly events will pair results from a YouScience assessment to with a list of 500+ careers. In doing so, participants will see which careers are best suited to their skills and interests with a free follow-up session to be scheduled to discuss said results and next steps.

The information sessions are funded by a grant NaviGo received from the City of Covington. The $85,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant will help NaviGo with workforce development and job training programs such as these NaviGo assessment events. The NaviGo assessments also work in correlation with GROW NKY’s workforce pillar, aligning and communicating community resources that can provide meaningful opportunities in high-demand sectors.

Covington Mayor Joe Meyer says there were several factors that influenced the city’s decision to award the grant to Learning Grove’s NaviGo division.

“One of the biggest factors in a family’s success is household income, so when the City heard about Learning Grove’s NaviGo program to improve career readiness, we were eager to help out. Government can’t and shouldn’t tackle complex problems like this alone, but we can partner with long-standing organizations like Learning Grove,” says Meyer. “This is a worthwhile investment of the City’s American Rescue Plan Act funds that we feel will pay off for both the City and its families for generations.”

Shannon Starkey Taylor, CEO of Learning Grove, who also serves on the NKY Workforce Investment Board, agrees.

“As a community, we all play a role in the success of our youth and in being of positive assistance to our schools with the great work they are doing for students. Learning Grove is honored to be a key partner with the city of Covington, the Kenton County Library, schools and many others in overall regional workforce development efforts. Our primary goal at Learning Grove is nurturing lifelong success,” Starkey Taylor says. “The transition from middle school to high school to college and career are important and sometimes confusing and challenging transition points for our youth and their families. Through this grant, we are excited to provide our NaviGo Services to the community of Covington and assist and empower our adolescents to develop viable plans to meet their career goals for the future.”

Dr. Kathy Burkhardt, Executive Director of NaviGo, says the assessments are a “hope-building tool” intended to serve as “the bridge from schools and students to businesses.”

“So many times, we see young people who go into go on a career pathway that they end up hating after they spent a lot of time and money and resources learning about it only to get to that point they decide ‘This is not for me’ – our whole goal is to avoid that,” Burkhardt says. “We also know there’s a huge exposure gap not just in Northern Kentucky, but also across the nation.

“So many students will take YouScience or another aptitude assessment and may not have any interest in engineering or something (similar) because they haven’t been exposed to those careers; this is about sharing the opportunities that are out there, providing support so people are engaged, involved and then helping them figure out the pathway to fulfill their hopes and dreams.”
In doing so, Burkhardt hopes the public will see that while “none of us can do it alone,” everyone can achieve when they come together and support one another.

“What I love about GROW NKY, the Workforce Improvement Board, the Northern Kentucky Chamber and all the businesses in the schools and school districts is that everybody sees the value and the collective impact and of sharing the responsibility,” says Burkhardt. “How we fit is as one of many partners and everybody’s bringing their best resources to the table so that as many people as possible can benefit including the individual as well as the businesses and then that impacts our entire region in a very positive and productive way.”

Kenton County Public Library Director Dave Schroeder says his organization is proud to partner with Learning Grove on a project “to assist students and young adults in their career development journey.”

“This collaboration will provide access to the YouScience platform to patrons who attend sessions at our Covington Branch. YouScience provides a personalized experience for those seeking to identify their talents and aptitudes as a means to planning career pathways,” Schroeder says. “These types of partnerships leverage resources, expertise and technology to provide a better quality of life for residents in our region. Learning Grove and the Kenton County Public Library are committed to student success and career development and are proud to work together to provide access to YouScience to our community.”
NaviGo will host YouScience Aptitude Discovery three more sessions at the Covington branch of the Kenton County Public Library (502 Scott St., Covington) on Jan. 9, Feb. 13 and March 13, 2023. To register for the January 9 event, click here.

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