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BizConnect is a regional pilot project working to connect students with businesses. The program is an effort to provide school counselors and teachers with a central resource to help students meet newly state-mandated graduation requirements, which include that all students must participate in an extended career exploration activity outside of the classroom. BizConnect is charged with developing a regional business data base with information about businesses and industries that students, teachers and school counselors can use to facilitate matches between students and businesses. My job as a BizConnect Coordinator is to make contact with businesses and individuals who would be willing to participate by agreeing to be included into this database. BizConnect is federally funded through a workforce development grant, and is supported by many regional partners dedicated to working towards building the future workforce.

The BizConnect database has two parts. First, we enter a partner's business information, which is not much more than most businesses post on their web sites. This information is used by students to research real-world opportunities that exist in their areas to help them refine what they want to concentrate on in terms of career preparation. The second aspect of the database is a volunteer registry for those employees within a business that would consider offering to host a job shadow or site visit, do an informational interview, be a guest speaker, participate in mock interviews, offer an internship, or act as a senior project advisor (These activities fulfill the career related learning experience requirement). The value in this type of opportunity for students is immeasurable. They will learn about your profession, what skills are needed to do your job or run your business, and how their classes in English, Math and Science relate to real life experiences. The value to employers is the opportunity to shape future employees, market careers in your industry, as well as contribute to the success of the students and the community.

There is much more information available on our webpage, so please take a minute and check out: http://www.worksystems.org/YouthOpportunities/BizConnect/tabid/154/Default.aspx

For more information please contact: Billy Solowski BizConnect Coordinator Portland Business Alliance 503-552-6758 [email protected]