Interview with Bill Morison, Coordinator of the Career Readiness Certificate Program for the Community College of Vermont

"[Incumbent workers] feel more prepared and more confident to be able to ask for the new job, and the company can feel more confident that individuals have proven their abilities by succeeding in the program." Bill Morison, coordinator, Career Readiness Certificate Program, Community College of Vermont

Bill and his colleague, Tiffany Keune, are responsible for the Career Readiness Certificate program across Vermont. All 12 CCV campuses offer the course. Originally designed for unemployed and underemployed workers, the content of the six modules is equally valuable for employees at Vermont companies and organizations—like GMCR.

All 12 CCV campuses happen to be located in a town or city where there is also a Vermont Department of Labor office. The two organizations partner to serve Vermont citizens seeking skill-development opportunities. Bill earned his certification as an ACT-authorized WorkKeys profiler in November 2009.

The interview follows.

Who conducts the Career Readiness modules?

"We use two instructors. Because of the broad skill set required, we realized early on that it might be difficult to find a single instructor with expertise in the content of all six modules. So we opted to use a team teaching approach.

“Often, one has a strong business background and can be helpful in the Locating Information module, resume/cover letter writing, interviewing and computer skills. The other may have strength in basic adult education and can be particularly helpful in the Reading for Information and Applied Mathematics modules.

“This allows a lot of individual attention and has become a key component in the success of the program at CCV campuses and at GMCR.”

Who are the ideal trainees for this program?

“There are two classifications of employees for whom this works particularly well.

“One is temporary workers hired through temp agencies. The hiring company often prefers to hire someone they already know and like, but they may not be sure of the prospect’s full skill set.

“The other is incumbent workers looking to advance in their careers by trying for a promotion at the company. This course can help individuals boost their skill sets, as well as their confidence, as they go into that interview for a promotion with their credentials in hand. They feel more prepared and more confident to be able to ask for the new job, and the company can feel more confident that individuals have proven their abilities by succeeding in the program.”

What are your results so far?

“As of January 1, 2010, we have had about 140 complete the course on one of our campuses. Of those, 89% have earned a CCV Career Readiness Certificate, and 99% have earned a National Career Readiness Certificate:

  • 4% have earned a Platinum-level National Career Readiness Certificate,
  • 41% Gold,
  • 39% Silver, and
  • 16% Bronze.”

Your view of the future?

“Year one has involved hiring instructors, working with our Department of Labor partners, and formalizing the curriculum. Now we’re ready to spend more time building awareness with employers and establishing the value of the program for all stakeholders. It’s a great start for the state of Vermont.”

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