April 2018 CSJ Visit Copy (1)

“Bridge To Brattleboro” Workforce Initiative Launch


Adam Grinold, Executive Director
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation

  “Bridge To Brattleboro” Workforce Initiative Launch


Brattleboro, VT. On April 6th five students from the College of St. Joseph in Rutland spent the day with six Brattleboro employers, through an initiative of the Community Equity Collaborative Diverse Workforce Development Committee. Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, as co-chair of the group, hosted the first-ever “Bridge to Brattleboro” initiative with the College. The initiative is designed to reach diverse college students outside of Windham County, and recruit them to participate in job shadowing, site visits, and informational interviews with local employers, as well as community development and social networking opportunities. The intent of the program is to encourage and support young people, especially young people of color, to choose Brattleboro as their place of work and residence.

Diana Wahle, chair of the committee, said “[we’re] breaking down an overwhelming challenge into workable parts, and the April 6 visit with CSJ students was a pilot that worked. It allowed us to build relationships with students who are making decisions about their futures, and we demonstrated to them that we are a community that strives to be inclusive and welcoming.”

The College of St. Joseph students were paired with employers matching their educational pursuits. Majors in Health Careers and Marketing spent the day shadowing employees at The Brattleboro Retreat and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Students studying Criminal Justice joined the Brattleboro Police Department and Brattleboro Community Justice Center. Other students, studying everything from Business Administration to Early Childhood Education, visited The Academy School, the Brattleboro Town Offices, and the Cotton Mill.

A “Connecting with the Community” lunch was hosted by The Root Social Justice Center, with participants from United Way of Windham County, the Women’s Freedom Center, and the Brattleboro Selectboard. The dinner, focusing on “Life in Brattleboro”, was hosted by the Southern Vermont Young Professionals, Green Mountain Crossroads, and The Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity.

David St, Germaine, Chair of the education division at College of St. Joseph, thought it was a worthwhile visit as well. “The job shadowing opportunities afforded the CSJ students on April 6 was greatly received. Providing time for the CSJ students of color to talk with other people of color who live and work in Brattleboro gave them a sense that the interest in diversifying the workforce within the Brattleboro community is genuine. I look forward to helping more CSJ students participate in this type of job shadowing experience”.

The Southern Vermont Workforce Center of Excellence is a program of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) which offers an employer-driven system of Workforce and Education partners aligned behind grassroots workforce development strategies that will increase the size and quality of the workforce, higher median household incomes. It was created through the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) comprehensive planning CEDS process, which engaged residents, employers, and municipalities throughout the Windham Region. The vision of the Centeris that every Vermonter in Windham County has access to the education, training, and support needed to access meaningful, livable wage careers, so that no good job goes unfilled.

The vision of the Community Equity Collaborative is that the greater Brattleboro area is recognized as an open and welcoming epicenter celebrating diversity free of prejudice and discrimination of all kinds.