In the Spotlight

Training Interns & Partnering for Success: Students Explore Local VT Businesses

In 2009, UVBEP was able to expand TIPS to impact a greater number of Vermont students and access a wider variety of businesses in Vermont. Expanding TIPS to three schools has given up to 30 students a chance to participate. TIPS is an internship program developed to connect high school students with employers and real job opportunities in the region. TIPS coordinators attribute the effectiveness of the program to the balance of classroom work that informs and engages students to think about their personal assets with individualized opportunities to build upon those strengths. Pre-employment skills classes closely aligned to quality internship experiences at select local businesses, which leads to school credit and summer employment for participating high school students. TIPS strives to optimize the learning for students by matching personal interest and aptitude to the internship experience whenever possible.

During an Upper Valley career tour, Rivendell Academy and Oxbow High School students explored various workplaces and learned more about job requirements, employer expectations and professionalism. In turn, students are equipped to make more informed educational and career decisions in their individual lives. Our first stop was the Veterans Administration Hospital in White River Junction, Vermont. Serving the upper New England Area, this medical facility provides an outstanding source of employment for many Upper Valley workers. Lead by Volunteer Services Officer, Betty Acheson, our group was able to see a generous sampling of many departments. A guided tour through medical records, physical & art therapy, X-ray, security and engineering gave students a flavor of the diversity of employment opportunities that exist at the VA.

Next on tour was the King Arthur Flour warehouse. Recently named one of the best places to work in Vermont (large company division) by Vermont Business Magazine, King Arthur Flour showcased jobs of all sorts. From receiving to test kitchen cooks, Tom Carlson, Warehouse Manager, guided us through these employment opportunities. Students observed King Arthur Flour’s efficient system of taking orders from customers and packing them for shipment. Numerous opportunities for growth exist within this company, which was emphasized throughout the tour. A trip through the warehouse introduced students to King Arthur products as well as their high standards of production. Pride was evident at each step along the way and was a persuasive testimony of the value of a positive work ethic embedded in a cooperative effort to be the best at what they do.

Our third stop was Stave Puzzles in Norwich, Vermont. Our students were able to see first hand the techniques and tools used by Master Crafters to create hand cut, custom made wooden jigsaw puzzles. The enthusiasm for the skills required for this business environment were readily shared with the students by the energetic and focused employees (Susan, Tammy and Megan to name a few) at this location. Stave Puzzles appeared happy to get their message out to students who were largely amazed to learn about an industry that was previously unknown to them until their visit to this Norwich company.

Lisa Avery wears many hats at the Lake Morey Inn and Resort. She gave our students a tour of the ins and outs of maintaining the daily operations of a year round four star resort. There were numerous job opportunities representing several interest areas at this site. Students explored the entire facility and were able to see the diverse employment opportunities at this hospitality site. Massage therapists, front desk reception, housekeepers, groundskeeper, maintenance and wait staff are just a few. Students learned how important it is for their employees to work as a team. Lisa stressed that she screens potential employees; looking for individuals willing to give 110% in all that they do. The students then were able to see how a four star resort functions year round right in their own backyard.

This day had a significant impact on students and would not be possible without the many skilled and committed employees who work in these businesses. These student visits will contribute in a positive way to establish a more realistic benchmark for these young adults entering the job market for the first time.

TIPS is offered to local high schools through a collaborative effort of the Upper Valley Business and Education Partnership (UVBEP) and Navicate. Thanks to a grant from the Vermont Department of Labor’s Next Generation Fund, UVBEP has been able to offer TIPS at three schools.

Read more or contact UVBEP for details.

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