The BBEC facilitates venues for people throughout the community to interact directly with students in the schools.
In 2018, the Higher Education Campus Visit program brought 4,300 ninth graders into direct contact with students and staff at the five Berks County based colleges and universities. Similarly, the Students Interacting with Business program engaged 4,500 ninth and tenth graders with employers at the business sites to learn directly about the requirements and opportunities for employment within the greater Berks County community.
The BBEC has taken a proactive lead the past four years to encourage schools to include an internship elective in the senior year curriculum. Four years ago, three school districts offered internship programs. In the 2018/2019 school year, 14 of the 18 Berks County school districts have included the internship elective in their curricula. One goal is to have 10% of the senior year county-wide cohort, 500 students, participating in an internship elective, learning in-depth about a possible career and/or employment path post high school.
The BBEC partners with the World Affairs Council of Greater Reading (WAC) to include students in the monthly luncheon presentation on important world topics. Typically, 25% of the average luncheon attendance of 150 are high school and college students. Usually, the luncheon speaker is pleased to present also at a high school earlier in the day. In 2018 presentation topics included Syria–Why It Matters and What Can Be Done About It, Peace Works. America’s Unifying Role in a Turbulent World and Strategic Issues for the 21st Century.
The above programs are rewarding for students and adults alike. The students broaden their knowledge of career opportunities and the world. The interacting adults are giving back with the satisfaction that they have enriched the lives of the next generation.