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(NECN: Jack Thurston, Colchester, Vt.) - The Vt. Technology Council and top State of Vermont labor and economic development officials unveiled a new, free website Thursday, aimed at connecting students with internships. The website, Vermont.Internships.com, has the potential to aid in workforce development, Vt. Labor Dept. commissioner Annie Noonan said. "This is a great way to help build careers that will help build the Vermont economy," she added.
Companies have good reason to want to recruit. In Vermont, with its second-oldest demographics in the nation, one of the country's lowest birth rates, and fifth-lowest joblessness rate, high-tech companies in particular have often said finding qualified workers is a challenge. "Getting enough employees is their problem, not getting enough customers," said Lawrence Miller, the secretary of the Vt. Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
C2 in Colchester, also known as Competitive Computing, builds websites including the e-commerce page for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. It has embraced internships as one way to attract and retain talented minds. University of Vermont graduate and native Vermonter Beau Cameron told New England Cable News he was hired after his internship at the firm.
"I feel you should start internships early," Cameron said. "My education gave me a lot of theory, and how to solve problems; how to think. But the internships gave me practical experience to actually be successful once I started to enter the workforce."
College student Roger Dubois, a computer science major at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, is interning at Competitive Computing this semester. He said he hopes to live and work in his native Vermont after graduation. "I'd really love to stay here," Dubois said. "And this experience is great; I'm learning from a lot of experts. And internships can definitely lead to jobs later on."
Many of the 40,000 or so college students who attend institutions of higher learning in Vermont end up moving elsewhere after graduation. Noonan said Thursday she'd like to see around an eighth of them stay in the state, to fill jobs and develop the workforce here. Putting down roots may just start with an internship, she suggested.
According Mathew Barewicz, the economic and labor market information chief for the Vt. Labor Dept., participation in the state's workforce by teen workers increased in 2012. Barewicz said the number of employed 16-19 year olds jumped 11 percent from 2011 to 2012. That could lay the groundwork for the teens' future employment in Vermont, Barewicz said.