News & updates
News & updates
‘Opportunity Fest’ Showcases Local Professionals
Story and photo by Zoë Newmarco, courtesy of The Herald, May 24, 2018
Randolph Technical Career Center (RTCC) hosted its second annual “Opportunity Fest” last Friday, showcasing local employers and highlighting professional opportunities for high school students or soon-to-be graduates.
Jason Finley, RTCC’s work-based learning coordinator, noted that last year the format of the Opportunity Fest had been comparable to a typical job fair, but that this year the school had organized several panels with professionals from many local businesses.
“We wanted to encourage more dialogue between professionals and students,” Finley explained.
Students were encouraged to attend at least two of the six available panels, which covered topics including farm businesses, working with people, and transportation systems.
“The necessity of being able to successfully navigate the technology that’s pertinent to your field isn’t news, but it’s so important it’s worth reiterating,” said Chris Dutton, a dairy farmer and former chair of Vermont Technical College’s dairy management program.
Dutton’s sentiment was echoed throughout the panels, regardless of the profession under discussion.
Each panel was moderated by an RTCC staff or faculty member, and panelists talked about opportunities for internships or entry level positions in their industries, as well as skills looked for by employers.
Finley mentioned that next year all students will be required to shadow a professional in the field they’re interested in, and that the Opportunity Fest was intended to be a networking opportunity for students, as well as an inspiration to them.
“We’re not just trying to get students to their high school diploma,” said Finley, “we’re really trying to get them set on their life-long pathway, and this is one way for them to see what they need to do to build their employability skills.”
Business Planning "101"
Students learn the fundamentals of business planning and execution
For two consecutive Wednesdays this April, nine Randolph Technical Career Center students, representing six programs, chose to spend their days learning how to create and pitch a business idea of their own design, while discussing the power of entrepreneurship.
The special “hands-on” entrepreneurial offering for students ranged from idea generation, how to view problems as opportunities, building financials, to pitching their ideas using a 3 minute pitch deck. Students were introduced to the “Business Model Canvas”, goal setting, SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) both personally and for their businesses, cash flow projections, sales and marketing, and much more.
The program was presented by Laurel Butler, VtSBDC Start-up Business Advisor/Student Entrepreneur Specialist and Tamie-Jo Dickinson, CVU Union High School Business/Entrepreneur Faculty/FBLA Advisor under a special offering with VBEC – Vermont Business Education Corp, VtSBDC and RTCC.
Some of the student’s proposed business ideas included: developing a child learning and day care center; an all farm supply and equipment store; a legislative lobbying company; an auto and repair shop as well as culinary delight bakeries.
When asked what the students thought of the two day immersion coming up with business ideas and then pitching them, a few of the comments indicated: “loved creating the cash flow statements”; “had a lot of fun and learned some new skills”; “really liked the financials”; “I want to learn more of this so I can take over our family farm one day”; and “it was fun to put my business idea out into the world”.
Whether a student’s goals are centered on future college success, preparation for the workforce, or enhancing their career technical experience, learning to think like an entrepreneur has value for all. There is a business side to every career pathway: visual film and graphic arts, culinary arts, environmental management, auto and diesel technology, building trades, education social services, criminal justice, health care, engineering, technology, agriculture, and all other areas; the skills and confidence one gains from learning about and creating an “entrepreneurial mindset” will help them succeed now and into the future.
This was the second year the mini-entrepreneurial program was offered at RTCC. The Center’s Director, Jason Gingold plans on providing the program again next spring 2019; it’s open to all students attending the Career Center.
For additional information about the program and other similar entrepreneurial trainings for students and/or teachers in all disciplines contact: Laurel Butler, VtSBDC - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Management Students Place Third in Statewide Challenge
The RTCC Business Program finished in third place overall this winter in the statewide Treasury Cup Challenge sponsored by Vermont State Treasurer's Office.
The challenge is a bracketed, double-elimination tournament that uses a quiz-show style format to question student knowledge of personal finance, economics, and consumer affairs. The RTCC team included Sheyenne Miller, Olivia Shonio, Morgan Nelson, Alexia Covey, and Keagan Jarvis-Chadwick.
Building Trades Students in Touch with Snow Season
Students in the Building Trades program came up with something unusual and just right for the season recently: toboggans.
Students built th forms the steamer and milled materials from rough stock purhasd from Don Carbino of South Royalton. Through the process, the class studied methods of steaming wood, working in teams to produce 11 new sleds.
"This is the first time we have covered "steaming", which involves changing the cell structures in wood said Program Director Tim Murphy. "We had our challenges, but we were successful."
Building Trades students have now turned their attention and focus to a furniture builidng unit, and later this spring, will cut a timber frame in the shop.
Tech Center Hopes To Make a Difference with Food
Courtesy of The Herald, February 1, 2018
Photo courtesy of Ethan Johnson
A small team at the Randolph Technical Career Center is taking aim at food insecurity and hopes to make a dent in the issue by providing extra items for the home pantry to students each month. RTCC Student Assistance Counselor Colin Andrzejczyk and Work- Based Learning Coordinator Jason Finley spent the month of November brainstorming ideas of ways to support the student population.
“We continuously came back to the idea of food and food insecurity,” Andrzejczyk said.
The tech center accepts students from seven schools in three supervisory unions. Historically, between 40-50% of students in the Orange Southwest Supervisory Union have been eligible for the free-or-reduced lunch program and the other districts share similar statistics. That number, however, is not necessarily a reliable indicator of which students may need extra help with food.
Finley recalled a previous job he’d had where he saw that “there were students who wouldn’t qualify [because] for one reason or another, they don’t want to do the paperwork.” Both he and Andrzejczyk hoped to do some good without the stigma that can accompany seeking a food subsidy. To do that, they set out to create a program that would offer items for the home pantry to every student in the school, which students would be free to take or not, in the least intimidating setting the two could find.
After a school-wide assembly last Friday, students returned to their classrooms to find bags filled with food items. Each one contained three pack- ages of oatmeal, a can of Chef Boyardee, two packs of ramen noodles, a can of peas, a large package of broccoli-cheddar rice, a box of macaroni, and a can of tuna.
“The reason for giving [the bags] out in the programs,” Finley explained, “is there’s a relationship built in the classroom where people are just more comfortable with each other.”
By participation, at least, the initial offering was a big success. Out of 130 bags prepared (one for every student in the tech center), 115 were taken home, a participation rate of about 88%.
Andrzejczyk said that the food was chosen to meet a budget and to be somewhat healthy. Each month’s bag is scheduled to contain proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains, starches, and soups. Total cost to deliver food like this to the students each month, he estimated, would be between $750-800.
January’s delivery was paid for thanks to a donation from Randolph’s American Legion Post 9. Phil Hannah had been to the school for a presentation and ended up speaking with Andrzejczyk and Finley about their food project. In short order, Post Commander Mark Conard paid a visit, bearing a check. The next delivery, scheduled for February 23, has been funded through individual private donations.
Both Finley and Andrzejczyk hope to speak with other area organizations that may be interested in providing sponsorship. Financial help from individuals is also welcome. Shaw’s Market has committed to working with the school on pricing for the monthly orders.
RTCC Diesel Program Receives New Diesel Engine
Members of the Diesel Technology Program at RTCC gather around a brand new, never used 2017 Peterbuilt Diesel engine donated by Lucky’s Trailer Sales and Peterbuilt of Vermont, located in South Royalton.
The engine, valued at close to $30,000, represents the latest in diesel technology, and will help students learn everything from the basics to the most complicated workings of today’s diesel engines.
According to Lucky’s Service Manager Tim Parker, a number of RTCC Diesel grads have worked or are working at Lucky’s following graduation from the program, including Marcus Harrington, a current student, and recent grads Josh Wheelock and Hunter Trombley.
“It’s a great program,” said Lucky’s Service Manager Tim Parker, “and we’re very pleased to have been able to secure the engine to assist local students who want to enter this growing field.”
RTCC’s New College and Career Lab
Helping students prepare for college and careers
The new College and Career Lab at RTCC is up and running, with workshops, visitors, and presentations geared to helping students plan for a successful future.
According to Work Based Learning Coordinator Jason Finley, here is just a sample of what’s been going on over the past few weeks:
- Paul Otenti from Vermont Tech’s Fire Science program gave a workshop on "Principles of Building Construction & Fire Protection" for the Criminal Justice program.
- The Building Trades program has been offering a weekly speaker series, inviting a wide range of contractors to talk with students about career opportunities
- Counselors from RUHS presented a workshop on the Common App and using Naviance
- Every Monday, Finley teaches a Career Readiness course for students in the Business Management, Criminal Justice, Education & Social Services, and Building Trades programs.
- Members of the Admissions staff of Manchester Community College came to talk with seniors about course offerings at the school.
- Students have come in for one-on-one assistance in resume building, as well as exercises on how to make phone calls to potential employers, creating cover letters, and how to research a company prior to an interview or job shadow.
- Snap-On tools recently gave a safety training to the Auto and Diesel programs.
- Military recruiters will be coming by to give presentations and answer questions about military service and offerings
- The Vt Department of Labor will be coming in to speak to students on high-pay, high growth careers here in Vermont over the coming decade
Environmental Resource Management Students Honor Vets with Community Service
Students in the Environmental Resource Management program took a field trip to the Vermont Veterans Cemetery recently to so some community service tree work.
This was the first event in Vermont sponsored by Saluting Branches, a non-profit organization that consists of tree care industry professionals and volunteers that donate their time, expertise, and equipment to care for trees at Veterans cemeteries across the nation as a way to honor our service members.
It was a great day of hands-on learning for the students, and a chance to learn from and work with some very knowledgeable folks in the industry.
According to Program Instructor Max Van Houten, the ERM programs plans to continue working with Saluting Branches in the coming years.