In 2018, REDC and the Rutland Region Workforce Investment Board (RRWIB) worked to collaborate on a pilot program called Real Careers @ Rutland County for high school students and young adults who have recently graduated to create and implement viable career plans in their home county of Rutland. In 2019, REDC, RRWIB, and Real Careers are looking ahead to continuing to work with students at two area high schools and in the community, totaling 31 young adults, while also accepting new applications.
Career Coach and Program Coordinator, Michelle Heitkamp, works with high school students from Otter Valley Union High School and Mill River Union High School up to three times a week and fills their classes with interview preparation, financial literacy, workers’ rights, pre-employability skills, and field trips to local employers. Michelle sees her young adult cohort weekly for resume-building and networking assistance, just to name a few items from the curriculum.
REDC is working with Real Careers to develop clear career pathway resources for students to explore and for Michelle to use as a tool in walking students through achievable career plans. REDC also visited the high school students to conduct mock interviews and offer tips on succeeding during the hiring process.
Students are now preparing for the real world experience that comes with the program. The high school students are being placed in internships for the spring semester with area employers like Rob Stubbins Electrical. The young adults are exploring continuing education at area schools, such as the Community College of Vermont’s 5-week certification for customer service in allied health and the adult LNA program at Stafford Technical. The young adults are also getting ready for interviews with employers in the region.
In the next few weeks, students will be meeting with the State of Vermont Department of Labor and BROC Community Action of Southwestern Vermont. REDC is looking forward to continuing our work with Real Careers and RRWIB in 2019 as the students continue to grow and work toward future employment in Rutland County.