Mount Anthony middle schoolers explore career paths
Wednesday's MAUMS Career Fair was the third annual such event, and featured local professionals from all manner of career paths.
Event organizer and school counselor Hannah Green said that while all three of the school's grades participate in the fair, the objectives differ based on age. For the sixth-graders, the goal was for the students to get an understanding about some of the careers that might be out there that interest them, while the older students were encouraged to learn about what steps they should be taking in high school and beyond to prepare themselves for their desired careers.
Sixth-graders went into the fair with "passports" that they needed to have stamped by speakers from each of the different career groups: Health Sciences; Arts and Communication; Human Services; Business, Management, Marketing, and Information Technology; and Natural Resources and Agriculture. Seventh-graders had to visit at least three different booths and ask, "What were three things you did that helped direct your career?"
Finally, eighth-graders had to ask two questions: "What high school or college courses were essential to your career?" and "What experiences or activities would you suggest someone in your field have before starting this career?"
Among the professionals and organizations who met with students were local author and artist Kim Wassick, students from the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center's cosmetology and medical professions programs, the Community College of Vermont, the Vermont State Police, the Abbey Group, Southern Vermont College, Castleton State University, State's Attorney Erica Marthage, the Bennington Police Department, Greg Nesbitt Photography, The Bennington Banner, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, the Home Depot, Vermont Department of Labor, Catamount Access Television, Bennington Rescue Squad, the Bennington Seedlings Program, Catamount Glass, Vermont National Guard, Key Bank, and the Bennington Downtown Alliance.
The career fair came about as a way of meeting the goals of Act 77 of 2013, commonly called the Flexible Pathways Act, career readiness has become an even bigger focus at the middle school level. Among the processes put into place by the act was the creation of personalized learning plans, which each student in the state creates in 7th grade, with the help of their teachers and guidance counselors, and then keeps updated throughout high school. The plan includes potential career goals and what steps, including classes and extracurricular activities, the student needs to take to meet those goals.
Derek Carson can be reached at email@example.com, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.
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