FARMINGTON — With the start of the new year, many people have adopted resolutions to live healthier or more productive lives.

For others, the new year prompts them to think about changing their career paths.

The Career Transitions course offered by San Juan College seeks to help those grappling with what step to take next in a new career. It helps them determine their goals and plans and gives them tools to move forward with those plans.

The course is offered through the college's Encore program and is taught by professional life coach Jeanne Kofron.

"It used to be that people would go to school, work in a particular field for 30 to 40 years, then retire," Kofron said. "That doesn't happen anymore, and there are more options and information available to people. This class is for those who are searching for that next chapter and are looking to reinvent, re-imagine and re-create their lives."

The class, which takes place over four Saturdays, begins with a test that helps people identify areas of proficiency and what they like doing and then identifies work or volunteer possibilities that fall in the area where those two elements meet.

Students spend time talking with each other and sharing their stories and situations. They also work on interview skills, update their resumes and complete a goal sheet. A Career Center specialist is on-hand to provide tips and guidance.

Ruth Milliken, 63, took the course last year and said it helped her obtain her dream job as an administrative assistant at the college's Community Learning Center.

At the time she enrolled in the course, Milliken had been retired from her job as the technology specialist at Farmington High School. She wanted to go back to work and knew that she needed help getting started.

"I had wanted to work at the college for some time, but I really needed some guidance. My resumé hadn't been updated in years, and I hadn't been for a job interview in some time. I'd only been out of work for a year, but I had lost my rhythm," she said. "The class really encouraged me, and I was able to update my life plan, which was exciting. It was so helpful, and I wouldn't have done that without the class."

Milliken said the initial testing reinforced that she wanted to work as an administrative assistant. And she agrees with Kofron that the interaction with the other students was one of the most valuable aspects of the class.

"It's a great class for creating friendships and contacts who can provide moral support. The class is not just for those who want to change careers or jobs, it's also so valuable for anyone who's just drifting, no matter their age."

Kofron said the class has an intimate feel. She described it as being similar to a personal or professional retreat -- a time for individuals to focus just on themselves and what they would like to have happen in their lives.

"You can't put a price on how helpful it is to connect and discuss with others who are also trying to figure out their next step. We tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to thinking about our goals, and talking to others often helps solidify the path we should take," said Kofron. "This is something you can't do on your own."

IF YOU GO

What: Career Transitions course

When: The next session is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 8 and continues for the following three Saturdays. There is a free orientation from 6 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 for those who want more information.

Where: Room 1908 in the West Classroom Complex at San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington

Cost: $19.75 for those 65 and over and $55.75 for under 65. The orientation is free. Students must be 18 to enroll.

More info: To register, call the San Juan College Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214 . Visit sanjuancollege.edu/Encore for more information. For information on individual life coaching sessions, contact Kofron at 505-325-0100.

Leigh Black Irvin covers health for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4610 and lirvin@daily-times.com Follow her @irvindailytimes on Twitter.