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Kingdom Career Connects for Middle School Students in the NEK

Grant Secured to Help Middle School Students’ Career Explorations

Lyndon State College Foundation has received a grant from the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation for the 2014-2015 academic year. The $29,650 grant will help fund Kingdom Career Connect (KCC)—an interactive, year-round, career-education program for 8th graders developed by Lyndon’s Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE).

The goal of KCC is to heighten the middle school student’s awareness of existing and emerging careers in the NEK region and to help understand the paths available or necessary to enter those careers. The students are supplied with career awareness toolkits and are provided experiential activities in preparation for the program’s culmination in spring—a career “fair” held at Lyndon State. Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) will help the CRE create the toolkits; Navicate will aid by providing the experiential activities.

The initial KCC program ran in the 2013- 2014 academic year. The culminating career fair was in April 2014 when more than 300 students from 18 schools came to Lyndon State to examine careers in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and healthcare. They attended their choice of 16 hands-on workshops facilitated by local business representatives and college faculty members. Students learned about emerging jobs in the NEK and were able to see how their academic studies are applied in the workplace, stressing the importance of math, science, communication, and technology.

Lyndon State’s Executive Director of Development Jenny Kempton Harris said, “We are very grateful to the McClure Foundation. We are the college for the NEK and we’d like to help NEK youngsters achieve their goal—particularly when that life-plan involves higher education. It’s also important for these students to understand that concepts learned in their current math and science classes can be directly applied to their profession later in life. Thanks to the McClure Foundation, we can continue to assist NEK students in their plans for their futures.”

Lyndon is known as a significant driver of the economy in the NEK and takes a leadership role in serving first-generation, low income students through efforts partly run by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE). The CRE focuses workforce education efforts from pre-Kindergarten through Grade 16 around the industry clusters with the greatest potential to keep and create jobs in the NEK that require postsecondary credentials and degrees. Based on a study undertaken by Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), the CRE concentrates on the manufacturing, tourism, agriculture/working landscape, and biomedical clusters.

Ann Nygard is the director of the CRE. She said, “The Kingdom Career Connect program is a key element in raising our local middle school student’s aspirations vis-à-vis their post-secondary education. The McClure Foundation is now a strong partner in this effort and we anticipate another success with our program for 2014-15.”

The J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation collaborates with educators, organizations, and philanthropists to improve and promote postsecondary and career education opportunities within the state with the conviction that through this work Vermont’s most important resource—its people—will become more fully empowered. The McClure Foundation is a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation.

The Vermont Community Foundation is a family of hundreds of funds and foundations established by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals. It provides the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise to make giving easy and effective. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing, and connecting philanthropists to multiply their impact, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments in the community.

Jenny Kempton Harris

Jenny Kempton Harris is New Executive Director of Development and Alumni Affairs

Lyndon State College has announced administrative changes in the departments of Alumni Affairs and Institutional Advancement. Jenny Kempton Harris ’79 has been appointed as the new executive director of development and alumni affairs by Lyndon’s President Joe Bertolino. Harris, formerly Lyndon’s director of development, will supervise the day-to-day operations and functions of the institutional advancement office. “She is also the point person for alumni affairs,” said Bertolino.

Harris grew up in Peacham on her family’s dairy farm and graduated from Lyndon with a degree in Theater. She has held administrative positions for a variety of companies from Vermont to Colorado to Australia. Harris has served on many boards and committees including the “Peace with Justice” and “Social Concerns” Committees at Father Dyer Methodist Church, the Breckenridge Ski Resort Support Group, and the Peacham Historical Association board. Harris currently serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Planned Giving Council of NH & VT and is working toward a degree in Business Administration at Lyndon.

As executive director, Harris will now coordinate, provide and direct a full range of support to annual and long-range fundraising and development efforts of the College. The director is also the major gifts and planned giving officer with responsibility for cultivating and stewarding donor relationships with alumni, friends, parents, businesses, and foundations. Harris will also act as college liaison with alumni of Lyndon State.

Bertolino also announced that Bill Laramee will provide consultation to the office of institutional advancement and assist in the development of an institutional advancement strategic plan. Laramee came to Lyndon in 1978 as dean of students, left in 1999 as dean of institutional advancement, and retired as vice president emeritus for Alumni and College Relations at Kentucky’s Berea College. He has been honored by the state of Vermont with the Martha H. O’Connor Award for Private Citizen Contribution to Public Education.

The changes were precipitated by two events: LSC’s Dean of Institutional Advancement Bob Whittaker’s departure to pursue a doctorate degree on July 1, and the resignation of Hannah Manley, director of alumni relations and development in January 2014. According to Bertolino, “The departure of both Bob and Hannah presented an opportunity to restructure and rethink the operation of the office of institutional advancement as well as create a new strategic plan for development and alumni affairs.” Bertolino has assumed the role and function of the dean of institutional advancement for the coming academic year.

Bertolino added that the College’s fund raising efforts will focus on securing financial aid and scholarship monies, annual fund contributions, and unrestricted gifts.