Arkansas State University - Newport

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AR Career Coach

Arkansas Works Career Facilitator Program

Established in 2010, the Arkansas Works Career Facilitator Program extends career guidance services for students moving from high school into post-secondary education by helping them set and achieve realistic goals and develop the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed. Key aspects of the program are to:

  • Increase the number of students who enter and remain in post-secondary education.
  • Provide knowledge and participation in internships, apprenticeships, and exposure to all forms of post-secondary career training and certifications.
  • Improve the effectiveness of post-secondary and career information given to high school students and their families.
  • Provide high school students with information about career opportunities in Arkansas.
  • Encourage individuals to learn about, prepare for, and finance a post-secondary education.

The services of college and career facilitators are available to any Arkansas student, with special interest given to those youth and adults from low-income backgrounds. Career facilitators will identify these students while in high school and encourage them to go to college, or be career-ready. To prepare Arkansas students to be college and career-ready the career facilitators address the following objectives:

  • Provide career guidance development to secondary students to assist them in preparing for high school graduation, post-secondary education, apprenticeship or workforce training, or positive direct placement into the workforce or military.
  • Adopt and promote the state goals for the quality career development of students from middle school through high school and beyond.
  • Assist or work in conjunction with high school guidance counselors and students in identifying and accessing career information and education and training opportunities to improve graduation rates, CTE program of study completion, non-traditional placement, and positive post-secondary placement, thereby decreasing college major changes and subsequent job dissatisfaction.

Meet the Arkansas Works Career Facilitator Team

Melissa "Missy" Clairday
School Served: Harrisburg High School


After graduating from Bryant High School, Missy Clairday went on to receive a bachelor's degree in psychology, with a minor in the interdisciplinary study of families, from Arkansas State University. It was in college that Missy decided she wanted to be able to work with youth and encourage them to attend a post-secondary school and find a career they would love. As an Arkansas Works Career Facilitator since 2011, Missy is now achieving her dream while helping the students of Harrisburg High School achieve their dreams.  

Michael Smith
Schools Served: Tuckerman High School


Michael Smith may have never imagined where his education would lead, but his diverse experience has given him a unique perspective when working with high school students. An alumnus of Tuckerman High School, Michael first received an Associate of Arts degree at ASU-Newport and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from Arkansas State University. While in college, he served as the ASUN Student Government Association Vice President and President and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, as well as the Undergraduate Research Association of Arkansas State University. After working as a programmer/producer for KNBY-KOKR-Newport, Michael has returned to his alma mater to prepare other students for their college careers.

Mary Williams
Schools Served: Jonesboro High School


Mary Williams' journey began in her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. While attending college classes at the University of Arkansas, Mary worked her way up from the file room of the Financial Aid Office to becoming a Financial Aid Officer. Ten years ago, Mary made a move to Arkansas State University to complete an undergraduate degree in social work. She returned to Fayetteville in 2005 and had completed her Master's degree in social work by May 2006. Since 2010, Mary has been putting her education and experience to good use working as a Career Facilitator for the students of Jonesboro High School.

Christopher “Chris” Cross
Schools Served:  Jonesboro High School


When it comes to working with the youth, Chris Cross is no stranger. As former youth mentor, Chris knew early on within his high school and college career that he wanted to choose a career that would allow him to work in close collaboration with the younger generation to help prepare them for life after high school, both socially and academically. Chris has earned his A.A from ASU-Newport and have gone on to complete his course work and received both his B.A in Sociology and M.S. in College Student Personnel Services from Arkansas State University. As a College and Career Coach for the STEM Academy at Jonesboro High School, Chris is eager to help edify his students the importance of preparing for college early on within their high school careers.