New site showcases careers

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BRATTLEBORO — A new website dedicated to "career pathways" and "opportunities" in the region has launched.

"I'm really hoping this project will be meaningful for people in this area," said Drew McDowell, assistant director and adult education director of the Windham Regional Career Center.

Windhamcareerconnections.com features industries such as advanced manufacturing; business, hospitality and tourism; construction trades; early childhood education; heat, energy and natural resources; health and medicine; technology, media and the arts; and transportation, distribution and logistics.

The site includes blog posts or articles from people in individual industries and information about upcoming events such as job fairs. It can be searched by interest areas and is intended to showcase professional networks in the area.

"It's trying to broaden that post secondary education landscape," McDowell said. "So folks don't necessarily jump right into college ... but they do jump into lifelong learning."

The goal also is to stay connected with students who go off to college, give parents an idea of what jobs are available in the region, and provide a resource to teachers.

The website is expected to become more robust over time.

"This is a slow build," McDowell said. "This isn't a 'boom, it's there' kind of thing. When you have a wide variety of contributors and influencers, then I think it can build some vibrancy."

A higher education marketing platform called uConnect was used for the site's development. It originally was intended "to bust silos on college campuses," said McDowell, "but a region faces the same things a college campus does."

uConnect says leading institutions use the platform "to make career advancement a bigger part of the campus culture and daily student experience."

"The guy who invented this was doing recruiting for a data analytic company and he went to his alma mater at UMass with jobs and internships and four people showed up to an event on campus," McDowell said. "It was like, 'Whoa, we put a lot of effort into this. How come no one knows?' It's because you have to market to students in places that they know, and that's technology."

The website is getting content from those concerned about regional workforce issues. The list includes the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development, Vermont Department of Labor and Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.

McDowell plans to send emails to Brattleboro Union High School and Bellows Falls Union High School about the site to encourage users to register. The hope is that the number of users will "continuously grow."

"I totally support a project that connects potential employers in our area with our graduates," Windham Southeast Superintendent Lyle Holiday said. "It is a win win for us all."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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