Wednesday March 13, 2013

A career week that’s planned in Bennington for the first week in April won’t be business as usual (pun intended).

The Bennington business and education communities are partnering for a full week of creative and engaging events that will held at local businesses, colleges, and schools. Career Week events will run from Monday, April 1, through Friday, April 5.

"The idea is really to celebrate business and education partnerships and all of the neat opportunities for career opportunities in this community," said Jeanie Jenkins, coordinator of academic services at Community College of Vermont in Bennington.

Jenkins said the week’s events are designed to engage everyone -- from toddlers to grandparents.

CCV will be offering three-hour "CCV Sit-in" courses, three times a day, each day of Career Week. For more information about the courses, call 802-447-2361.

Bennington County Industrial Corp. Executive Director Peter Odierna said the week will include tours of local plants as well as the opportunity for area business leaders to speak directly to Mount Anthony Union High School students via "15-minute seminars" about what sort of education is needed for various careers, according to Odierna, manufacturing jobs that pay competitive wages are abundantly available in the Bennington area.

Odierna noted that a recent report showed that the average manufacturing salary in Vermont is $52,000 per year. He said the Bennington community needs to make sure its young people are able to find the right educational path to land those lucrative positions.

A career day fair is also planned for Pownal Elementary School students on April 3.

The Banner is also participating in this week-long focus on careers. We will be publishing columns penned by area business leaders on the theme "We Make Cool Stuff" every day that week. The series of columns will help to raise awareness for manufacturing processes at Bennington businesses, Odierna said.

"We hope that students will recognize the speaker and say ‘I read your piece in the Banner yesterday’" and spark a dialogue, he said.

The column series was inspired in part by recent tours of local manufacturing facilities by MAUHS math and science teachers that was organized by BCIC. Those "teacher tours" have invariably inspired a reaction from the educators of "Wow! I didn’t know they made that here!" according to Odierna.

Career Week will also feature a series of lectures to be held at Bennington College on topics including social science (April 1), visual arts (April 2), and poetry (April 3).

Along these same lines, a health care summit held Tuesday at the Bennington Firehouse was a forum for area students to learn what kind of educational path might be needed for careers in the health care field. The summit was a collaborative effort by the Vermont Department of Labor, Community College of Vermont, the local technical school and local health care employers.

Likewise, Career Week looks to be a wonderful collaboration between our business community and our schools.

The week full of fun events offers something to benefit students and businesspeople of all ages.

Look for a detailed schedule of Career Week events in an upcoming edition of The Banner.

~Michelle Karas