The BBEC facilitates venues for people throughout the community to interact directly with students in the schools.
In 2019, the Higher Education Campus Visit program brought 4,060 ninth and tenth 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 4,320 ninth 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. Five years ago, three school districts offered internship programs. In the 2019/2020 school year, 16 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, 5,000 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 140 are high school and college students. Usually, the luncheon speaker is pleased to present also at a high school earlier in the day. In 2019 topics included: Cuba at a Crossroads: Family, Revolution and the United States 1959-Present; The Transatlantic Relationship in an Era of Great Competition; Making Sense of Iranian Escalation.
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.