Over the course of the 2021-22 school year, Bellows Free Academy has had 13 career connection presentations during Wednesday Enrichment periods. These presentations included local businesses like Green Mountain Power, Ben and Jerry’s, SD Ireland Construction, Stacie Callan Realty Group, the Vermont National Guard, Mylan Technologies and others.
According to Bellows Free Academy’s Flexible Pathways coordinator, Liam Mahabir, who, along with Robert Thayer, the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at Northwest Technical and Career Center, arranged for these presentations, they would like many of these businesses to come back in the future to speak to different students who may be interested.
“The purpose is to give students an opportunity to hear about job opportunities in local businesses and industries, to have them hear about people’s specific career paths,” Liam Mahabir said. He added that another purpose is to show students how the presenters got to where they are now.
Mahabir shared that both Bellows Free Academy and Northwest Career and Technical Center wanted to get more career opportunities for students. Mahabir also stated that employers are looking for people to fill jobs and are interested in talking to high school students to inform them about job opportunities for now and in the future.
Mahabir said that he works with Thayer to decide who to bring in for presentations keeping a few different things in mind. First, they like to try to bring in local businesses, with the exception of a virtual presentation from NASA. Second, they try to bring in different groups of people like medical, military, education, trades and mechanical jobs. Lastly, they have to find businesses that are interested in coming to present to the students.
The presentations have led to job shadow opportunities already, and presenters stay after to talk to students who may want to talk one-on-one and learn more about the job. Mahabir said that Mount Mansfield Fiber and Northwest Medical Center are just a couple of examples of places where students were able to get job shadows; however, due to COVID, shadows at Northwestern Medical Center were put on pause with hopes they will be able to start up again this upcoming fall.
There will be one last chance to attend a career connection presentation during the Wednesday Enrichment period on June 1 with Alliance Group: HVAC & Building Automation. Students can sign up on Flextime Manager to attend.