BENNINGTON -- A local, week-long camp this summer is helping high school students consider and experience a wide range of careers while self-evaluating their talents and interests.
The Training Interns and Partnering for Success (TIPS) program offered by Southwest Vermont Career Development Center from July 9 to 13 includes visits to area businesses and conversations with business leaders. Upon completion of the camp for high school students ages 16 to 18, participants will have the opportunity to shadow employees in prospective fields.
"The theme is self-exploration leading to career exploration," said Wendy Klein, coordinator of the co-op program at the CDC. The camp, entering its fourth year at the CDC, is free to all participants and includes meals and transportation.
The first day of the camp brings the teens to an overnight retreat at Pompanuck Farm Institute in Cambridge, N.Y., where students will participate in team-building activities and begin discussing their goals. The setting, Klein said, is "almost magical" in its beauty and separation from outside distractions and electronics.
"It’s there that we really begin the conversation about what students are thinking about at this point in terms of what’s important to them, in terms of their work life, what’s important to them in their work values, and help them articulate their dreams for the future," Klein said. "We’ll also talk about the linkages between things they like to do as teenagers, what courses they like, what extra curriculars they like, and how they may leverage those interests when they look at career opportunities that match."
After spending most of Monday and Tuesday at Pompanuck, students will meet at CDC the rest of the week. In the mornings, Klein will work with them on resume-building skills, interviewing techniques and other skills employers look for. Wednesday afternoon the camp expects to visit Global-Z in Bennington, where they will learn about knowledge-based careers and what an employer looks for in a candidate during an interview.
Thursday afternoon the group expects to visit the Bennington Rescue Squad to learn about medical fields and community involvement, among other topics. The group will also visit Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to learn about careers employers like hospitals must offer, beyond those associated with health care
"They will challenge the kids to think beyond making assumptions about a company when looking at employers," Klein said.
The visits to area businesses will also allow the group the opportunity to observe and critique different workplace cultures, which they will then also be able to do by themselves shadowing employees at places of their choice.
The camp, which is free to participants, is supported through grants to the Workforce Development Partnership of Bennington County from the Vermont Department of Labor and the nonprofit organization Linking Learning to Life. Enrollment is limited to 15 students.
Contact Klein for more information or an application form via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the CDC at 447-0220.
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