Career Ready Berks SymposiumCareer Development = Workforce Development = Economic Development was the overarching theme at the 2nd Annual Career Ready Berks Symposium on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. More than 250 attendees from local businesses, non-profit organizations, school districts, career and technology centers, higher education, chambers of commerce, workforce development partners, elected officials, department of education officials, and community partners came together to focus on career and workforce development that will ultimately result in economic growth here in Berks County.

Dr. Jill Hackman welcomed attendees and set the stage for the morning’s dialogue. The county-wide Career Ready Berks video created by the talented Communication Media Technology students and their teacher, Mr. Jim DelConte, at the Berks Career and Technology Center was shown to kick off the event. Ms. Kristi Gage-Linderman, Chief Operating Officer of Gage Personnel Services, and Mr. Jim Scheuren, Schmidt Training & Technology Instructor for Robotics and Automation at Reading Area Community College (RACC), both took the stage to share their thoughts and firsthand experiences on the importance of engaging students and educators in the career development process.

Mr. Dan Richards and Ms. Stacy Dunleavy, BCIU Office of Professional Development and Curriculum, led the event and debuted the Career Ready Berks platform, which is designed for educators

and businesses to find and post career opportunities for students. The platform can be found at CareerReadyBerks. org.

The highlight of the event was the student involvement. Four display tables were set up and showcased work by the students from the Berks Career and Technology Center, Twin Valley School District, and Conrad Weiser Area School District. The students shared various projects they have been working on in class. Two students from Governor Mifflin School District shared their internship experiences with the audience. Both students learned a great deal from these experiences and have formed their career path choices based on these opportunities. A medical health professions student from Berks Career and Technology Center also shared her career pathway experience, which has confirmed her passion for the health and medical field.

Mr. Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, closed out the event with a call-to-action for local businesses. There are so many ways Berks County organizations can get involved in our schools by providing internships, shadow experiences, career day speakers, and more.

Career Ready Berks is preparing our 70,000 students to be more informed in their career pathway choices, which will ultimately result in a more informed workforce and economy here in Berks County.