770.333.6343 kate@katemcenroe.com

The subject is student industry tours, and Bedford Virginia’s Bedford One program has been at it since 2009 an has reached over 4,000 students.  And, like many places, they faced a decision about how to continue through COVID. I know they weren’t the only ones, but they embraced a pivot to online Career Conversations that are live-Zoomed, recorded, and uploaded to a You Tube channel.

Here’s why it is memorable to me.  For years, most people I spoke to believed it was invaluable to introduce students while still in middle school and high school to local industry opportunities.  And for years, many succeeded, but many more faced hurdles implementing a program that matched their aspirations.  Sometimes it was transportation, sometimes insurance, sometimes “no time” sometimes just the difficulty of separate programs for separate schools instead of cross-district cooperation.  So, even if COVID makes you do it,  maybe this isn’t a forever substitute for in-person but a forever addition that will prove to be a blessing in disguise.

The possibilities are intriguing – reaching multiple high schools with one program, highlighting multiple employees with different career stories at each company, maybe an opportunity for parents and kids to watch together.

Here’s the link to the program description:  https://www.bedfordeconomicdevelopment.com/business-assistance/bedford-one-program/

And here’s what you can find on the web site of one of the high schools that the program serves:  http://bedfordjfhs.sharpschool.net/our_staff/counseling/virtual_business___industry_tours