Columbia-Greene Launches Career Jam™ to Highlight to Area Students Local Career Possibilities

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Over 25 area businesses, trade unions, public agencies & nonprofits showcase skills related to area jobs to inspire over 1,200 local students

Hudson & Catskill, NY – The area’s inaugural Career Jam™, presented with Junior Achievement’s JA Inspire™ program, and co-hosted by the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Greene County Economic Development Corporation, Greene County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Questar III BOCES and Columbia-Greene Workforce NY, launches April 14th. The virtual career exploration event will inform and inspire area youth by showing the diverse spectrum of skills in demand for jobs of all abilities, helping to prime local workforce development. Participating employers represent the broad array of available career clusters, from healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction and tourism, to marketing, food distribution, public service and support for those with disabilities. Employers uploaded video and other content about their workplace, typical jobs, and industry information. A particular unique aspect of Career Jam is having employers share a video of  job or related skill to demonstrate to youth fundamental capabilities applied daily. Career Jam is virtually accessible via computer or mobile device to students and their families, teachers and participating employers. The exclusive period for Columbia and Greene counties schools runs through April 26th before opening up for the entire capital region until May 28th.

“We need to be active partners in shaping our region’s 21st Century Workforce,” said F. Michael Tucker, President and CEO, Columbia Economic Development Corporation. “By collaborating with local employers and educators, we are inspiring local kids by the full breadth of what’s possible in terms of promising jobs that lead to meaningful careers and lives in our area. Having a workforce pipeline of talent helps our local small businesses, farms, tourist destinations, healthcare, automotive, construction and manufacturing employers continue to prosper.”

“Workforce development is economic development,” said Karl Heck, Executive Director of the Greene County Economic Development Corporation. “Anytime we talk with local employers, having a pool of able and willing employees to draw on is critically important. We have a diversity of industries with a great quality of life here in Greene County. Showing our local youth what’s possible in terms of building a career here to support our communities is important to retaining talent to live, work and play here, now and in the future.”

Expected to reach as many as 1,200 Columbia and Greene County 8th & 9th grade students across most area school districts, Career Jam’s unique features include short employer videos demonstrating skills in demand at their workplace to inspire students’ future courses of study. Questar III BOCES and Columbia-Greene Community College are also participating, showcasing their career and technical education (CTE) and degree programs respectively. These direct career pathways to employment in healthcare, automotive technology, criminal justice, construction, and other fields in need of workers can lead to strong salaried jobs after graduation.

“We are pleased to be part of this regional effort to introduce students to careers in our region,” said Dr. Gladys Cruz, District Superintendent of Questar III BOCES, serving 22 school districts in Rensselaer, Columbia, and Greene counties. “Our BOCES has long-supported opportunities for students to explore careers and interact with local business and higher education partners. We encourage students and families to attend virtually to learn more about the exciting career pathways available in Columbia and Greene counties, as well as the ways they can begin this journey during their high school years.”

Career Jam’s virtual career booths, video presentations in the virtual auditorium, as well as ability to text questions to employers about their workplace or career options, help inspire students’ career readiness. All the content can be captured to a virtual backpack for students to download for review with teachers, guidance counselors and at home. The 2021 Career Jam is available through May 28th. Students are encouraged to login with their families to prompt discussions about the meaningful local careers possible and pathways to study in preparation for them.

Cairo-based small business owner and video producer, Kevin Witte Jr. Productions, shared a short video in the Career Jam describing five easy tips to make a quality video. It was designed to provide something that is both engaging to many teenage students, but also fundamental to skills required for marketing in the digital economy. Greenport’s Ginsberg’s Foods included a wide variety of helpful employment backgrounds. They produced a fun and engaging video on a day in the life of that longtime local employer. One of their employees, Alex, talked about his experience finding his job and working at Ginsberg’s Foods adding perspective for area youth.

Sponsors include regional employers with Columbia-Greene based service and jobs, such as Siemens and KeyBank, Capital District Center for Independence, the Workforce Development Institute (WDI), supporting the many trades regionally, as well as Glaxo-Smith-Kline (GSK). GSK Oak Hill (in Durham, Greene County) specializes in manufacturing globally recognized brands of toothpaste (Sensodyne, Pronamel, Aquafresh and Polident) producing on average 5 million tubes of it every week supplying most of the continental US and Canada.