The Bennington County School and Workforce Partnership, a subsidiary of BCIC, is a coalition of businesses, schools, colleges, training providers, economic developers, and relevant government offices all sharing a common mission: “To strengthen workforce quality, develop career opportunities, and foster a culture of lifelong learning in Bennington County.”

The Partnership’s vision is of “a Bennington County with a superior workforce and a community that values and supports learning for its own sake for all community members. This includes an outstanding coordinated system of education, training, counseling and information — with employers, education and training institutions, and concerned officials and community representatives planning and monitoring the learning and workforce development processes. The community thus anticipates and actively pursues opportunities to promote high quality jobs and increased competitiveness for area employers through responsive training and education activities.”

Career Week
Held the first week in April, Career Week features a range of free, community-focused events celebrating the connections between education and careers. The kick-off for the week is the “We Make Cool Stuff” daily newspaper columns authored by local businesses. Other highlights include local professionals speaking to high school classes about career pathways and job opportunities, local business tours, career activities in k-12 schools, career workshops, career and college fairs, and open visitation to college classes.

Sophomore Summit
The Sophomore Summit is a county-wide activity that supports economic development by connecting sophomores at MAUHS, the Career Development Center, Burr and Burton Academy, Arlington High School and Grace Christian School with a wide range of business professionals in Bennington County. The Summit is critical to providing students with early exposure to local employment and career options.

Southshire Challenge
The Southshire Challenge connects area businesses and students in grades k – 16 to collaboratively solve problems in technology, media and the Arts. The challenges, which can be identified by either an educational group or a business, must include at least one business and one educational partner. The Southshire Challenge groups will be recognized at the BCIC annual meeting in April. A special recognition, the Catherine McClure STEM Innovation Award, will be awarded to the Challenge team demonstrating the most significant growth in STEM skills over the course of the challenge.

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