FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) _ An education panel in northern Kentucky is partnering with area businesses to provide career coaching to select high school students in the fall.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports the Northern Kentucky Education Council is overseeing the NaviGo Scholars program with support from Toyota, Duke Energy, Citi, the Bank of Kentucky and Heritage Bank.

The initiative will provide one-on-one career coaching to 33 students at 14 high schools across the region. Coaches will help students identify strengths and weakness in an effort to narrow career options and choose the right classes.

Students will also be mentored by professionals from top employers in the region.

Retired Kenton County schools superintendent Tim Hanner came up with the idea for the program and his company, NaviGo College and Career Prep Services, designed the curriculum and trained the career coaches.

He said he has heard complaints from high school students about not being adequately prepared for life after graduation.

“High school should be as much about students finding out what they don’t want to do as what they do want to do,” he said. “And unfortunately, there are too many students just doing high school and not understanding how the classes they’re taking and the research they’re doing relates to life beyond high school.”

The program is designed to complement existing career and college programs and is intended both to help students advance and to strengthen the region’s workforce.

“We can really change the outcome for these youth and their families _ this is very important and exciting for us,” said Polly Lusk Page, the council’s executive director.

The students selected are not required to choose a specific field, but some of the corporate partners are hoping that at least some choose fields such as engineering and advanced manufacturing, which are areas where workers are needed.

“It’s an investment in the future of the company. It’s a recruiting tool like we’ve never had before,” said Helen Carroll, spokeswoman for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America in Erlanger.

Officials hope to expand the program after the inaugural year.