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BENNINGTON — The annual event formerly known as Career Week is expanding this year to cover the entire month of April and incorporate students and businesses from the Northshires.

The newly christened Career Month, which is organized by the Workforce and Education working group of the Bennington County Industrial Corporation, has grown immeasurably since it began five years ago.

"Career Week is uniquely our thing, and it really evolved organically from the ideas of people around the table," said Bill Colvin of the Bennington County Regional Commission, who serves on the Workforce and Education group. Wendy Morse from the Department of Labor, who has served on the committee since its inception, said that the group has many action-oriented members who jumped right into the project.

"It is truly a collaborative effort," she said.

The month will kick off with the Southern Vermont College Career and Internship Fair, which runs from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday March 30 in the SVC gym. That event is open to the community.

The next Monday, April 3, Michael Schirling, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce, and Joan Goldstein, the state's economic development commissioner, will visit Molly Stark Elementary School, Mount Anthony Union High School, and local businesses. Jeannie Jenkins of the Community College of Vermont, who also serves on the working group and the Bennington Select Board, said that the secretary's visit was spearheaded by State Representative Bill Botzow, of Pownal, who attends every meeting of the working group. Colvin said the list of businesses Schirling and Goldstein will be visiting is still being finalized.

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Each year during Career Week, a local business has hosted an Open House for the community. This year, that business will be JK Adams of Dorset, which has been in business for 73 years, creating hand-crafted kitchen and home products. Colvin said that a second open house is being explored for later in the month.

There will be a number of week-long events during the first week in April. Local businesses leaders, including Dixie Zens of Abacus Automation, Matthew Harrington of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, Jim Trimarchi of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Ryan Scutt of Catamount Access Television, and Jim Sullivan of the Bennington County Regional Commission, among many others, will be speaking to students at MAU High School; business owners will publish "We Do Cool Things" in the Banner; CCV will open its doors to the community with class sit-ins; and the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center will be hosting events at MAUHS and area elementary schools.

There will be a Wellness and Health Fair at CCV from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday April 5, and a Career and Job Expo at the Bennington Firehouse from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday April 7, which is expected to feature over 30 employers.

The Department of Labor will also host workshops throughout the month. On Monday April 3, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the DOL, they will host "Job Club" for unemployed and underemployed individuals. "How to Job Search in the 21st Century," will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday April 5 at the DOL. On Wednesday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. they will host a resume writing workshop. "Networking in Action" will take place at the Bennington Free Library at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 13. On Friday, April 14, the popular collaboration between Southern Vermont College and the DOL, "Model Employees Fashion Show," will be held at the library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Finally, "Developing Smart Goals," will be held at the library at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 27.

One of the month's biggest events is the annual Bennington County Sophomore Summit, where sophomores from around the county are invited to a day of career-oriented workshops at Bennington College. That will take place on April 13.

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB


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