Thursday June 27, 2013

BENNINGTON -- The Training Interns and Partnering for Success program, offered jointly by the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center’s Cooperative Education Program and Mount Anthony Union High School’s School-to-Work Office, will run for one week this summer beginning Monday, July 8, and ending Friday, July 12. The program is being offered free of charge and is open to high school students 16 to 18 years of age.

According to Wendy Klein, co-op coordinator at SVCDC and a TIPS leader, the week-long camp can be an extremely beneficial experience for students.

"This program is like a gift of ‘time-out’ for students to begin to create some goals for themselves," Klein said. "It gives them the opportunity for self-reflection, to figure out what interests them and what sort of work they might want to do later in life."

In addition to team and career building activities at Pompanuck Farm in Cambridge, N.Y., Brooke Remington, a teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School and another leader of this event explained that students will learn valuable skills that will help them to succeed when they begin interviewing for jobs after graduation.

"We explain to the students what it means to have a job and what kinds of soft skills they’ll need to bring to the table when it comes to employment," said Remington.

Mid-week, the students will venture out into the community to mingle with local companies and entrepreneurs like Global-Z International of Bennington, so that, Klein notes, "the business owners and companies can share stories about their own career journeys with the students."

"They (Global-Z) talk to students not only about their company," Remington said, "but also about the interview process and what characteristics and attributes they look for in potential candidates."

Remington adds that fostering relationships with companies like Global-Z has been invaluable for the TIPS program.

"Making these connections in the community has been a goal of TIPS for quite some time," Remington said. "The advice they give our students helps them to truly understand what it takes to be in the work world."

With help from Remington and Klein, students will also have the opportunity to organize job shadowing and internship opportunities following the camp.

"Optimally, we want to see students move into longer term internships through CDC’s co-op program or MAU’s internship program," said Klein.

The only challenge Klein and Remington note regarding the program is the fact that students are sometimes reluctant to give up a week of their hard-earned summer vacation for a program that mimics a school day.

"It’s challenging for us to convince students of the benefits a program like this," Klein said. "However, we really do have fun. The students enjoy taking the time to think about their futures in a fun and relaxing way, without having to worry about grades."

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. For more information about the TIPS program or to acquire an application form, contact Wendy Klein at wklein@svcdc.org or call the Career Development Center at 802-447-0220.

Contact Elizabeth Conkey at econkey@benningtonbanner.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.