Students Learn Career Skills from Bank of America Volunteers at WCCC

Preparing to enter the workforce or to continue on in college can be a daunting stage in any person’s life. Uncertainty about expectations, social skills, and a lack of experience can all reduce confidence and make the transition even more difficult to navigate. Happily, it isn’t a road that we need to navigate alone, as evidenced by a recently held day-long workshop at Washington County Community College dedicated to preparing local high school students for fulfilling careers. 

The workshop, which was conducted by volunteers from Bank of America in Belfast, included three separate sessions, each focused on a particular topic. Students were instructed in resume and interview tips, soft skills, and financial literacy. After the three sessions were completed, an hour-long speed networking session was held during which students met in small groups with each of the volunteers to ask questions about college, work, and future goals.

“I really felt that I was able to learn things firsthand, things that a classroom would never be able to teach me,” student Camryn Michaud said. Michaud is a senior student in Toby Cole’s JMG Career Prep class. “They taught us how to interact with people we’ve never met, what financial credit is and how it can affect major life decisions, and how properly writing a resume can be the difference between getting an interview and standing out among any other applicant.”

“This was a classic example of how JMG works with these businesses to provide education in areas that are needed to pursue meaningful careers,” Cole said of the event. “Every day, we teach our students these lessons, but to hear them from professionals in the field who have taken different paths to get to where they are can sometimes sink in more than hearing it from us in school.”

Approximately 60 students from Calais, Woodland, Shead, Washington Academy, Machias, Narraguagus, and Jonesport-Beals attended the event, which was organized through the coordinated efforts of Cole, Mary-Ann Urquhart from the College Success Program, and WCCC. This was the first time that Bank of America has traveled to Washington County to offer this kind of workshop, but Cole said he hoped to make it an annual event. “Everyone benefitted from this event and I want to make this happen for as many students as possible,” Cole said.