Photo: Three Otter Valley 2019 graduates of the Real Careers @ Rutland County pilot program receive their diplomas. From left to right, Marcus McCullough (working for Stubbins Electrical and starting the apprentice program in the fall), Nathan Claessens (attending the University of Vermont to study civil engineering), and Jack Adams (starting as a maintenance technician at the Killington Grand Hotel).
As the school year comes to a close and another class of Rutland region young adults prepares for their next chapters, 31 graduates are following their passions and newly discovered career paths in the area thanks to the pilot program, Real Careers @ Rutland County. Through this special program, Program Coordinator, Michelle Heitkamp, and Assistant Career Coach, Lynne Klamm, offer students with classroom setting learning as well as one-on-one advising regarding pre-employment skills, building local networks, exploring alternative routes to employment, and continued education preparation.
It’s been a busy year for both the students and the program coaches as they test drove the program from its plans on paper to classrooms at Otter Valley High School and Mill River Union High School. These graduates exceeded expectations and their new paths represent the varied potential career opportunities available in our own county.
After completing their Real Careers coursework, job-site visits, internships, and career shadow days, this year’s class at Otter Valley are transitioning out of high school seamlessly. The course resulted in five full-time positions, two college placements, one full-time seasonal position, three interviews, 16 certifications, and two credentials. At Mill River, the results are just as impressive with students are taking six full-time positions, one apprenticeship, one seasonal position, two college placements, two guarantees of employment following course completion, one credential, and six certifications.
One student said of the program,
“This program is helping [to] make me who I’m going to be in four or five years. By teaching me to go out of my comfort zone, they got me the job I’m going to have… I might have been able to get this done on my own, but it would have been much harder and have taken a lot longer.”
Michelle and Lynne have crafted an effective and unique learning opportunity for these area graduates and the coaches will continue to support the students as they learn and grow in the workforce. We can’t wait to see what these students tackle next and we’re looking forward to welcoming the next class of Real Careers high school students in the fall.