Blog

Multiple professionals greet each other at a business meeting.

What Does it Mean to be Career Ready?

When you graduate from high school, you have a whole world of choices in front of you. However, despite this world of opportunity, it seems like you have two main choices: attend college or enter the workforce. In many schools, the emphasis on life after high school is put on attending college, but attending college is not for everyone, and that’s okay!

If you are unsure of what you want to do after high school, our team recommends job shadowing or interning to find the field of work you love. Check out our blog to find out what resources are available for you in Battle Creek.

Our team is focused on helping the students of Battle Creek find careers that they love and want to pursue. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to know if you’re even ready for a career right out of high school. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide to help you understand what career readiness is and how you can enter your field of interest out of high school.

What Does “Career Readiness” Mean?

Today, a career is not just a job. A career provides you with a sustainable wage and an avenue for advancement in your skills. Being ready for a career means that a high school graduate has the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in job training and also has the education necessary for the career they have chosen. Post-secondary education can include technical or vocational programs, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training.

Are “College Ready and “Career Ready the Same Thing?

While both college and career readiness aim to ensure that high school graduates have the skills needed to succeed in their post-secondary plans, being career ready is different than being college ready. The options and opportunities provided for those entering the workforce after high school are much different than those entering college.

To be college ready, you need to be able to attend a college or university. That means having the grades and skills to succeed in the classroom. To be career ready, however, you need to be prepared to begin training for and working at a job you love.

How Do I Know if I’m Career Ready?

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, there are eight keys to career readiness:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Digital technology
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism and work ethic
  • Career management
  • Global and intercultural fluency

Depending on the field you decide to go into, the importance of these skills may vary. Work with your coaches, mentors, and teachers to develop these skills and prepare you for entering the workforce.

Resources

Are you ready to take the next step in career readiness? Battle Creek has resources available to help students find people in Battle Creek that they should be connecting and networking with. The Battle Creek Community Foundation can help you find scholarship opportunities through Michigan Works Southwest and the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center.

Battle Creek CAN (BCCAN) is another great resource in our city that can help you gain access to information necessary for obtaining education beyond high school. Their knowledgeable staff is available to help you achieve your educational goals and prepare for the career of your dreams! They can even help you with financial assistance through The Legacy Scholars program.

Are you ready to enter the workforce but not sure if you’re college ready? Our action teams would love to help you get in touch with the resources and connections you need. Please contact us to learn more.

 

 

A college student pauses with her pencil over a notebook in front of a laptop while applying for an internship.

How To Apply and Prepare for an Internship

An internship can play a vital role in your career. It teaches you real, on-the-job skills and provides valuable experience you might not otherwise have exposure to. Internships can also help you decide if the field you are interested in is actually the career path you want to follow.

Not sure where to find an internship? Check out our blog to find out what resources are available for you in Battle Creek.

Our team is focused on helping the students of Battle Creek find careers that they love and want to pursue an internship in, so we have put together a guide to help students apply for internships and prepare for internship interviews. If you’re in search for a great internship, the Battle Creek Chamber has opportunities to apply on their website.

Applying for the Internship

So, you’ve found an internship that interests you, that’s great! But you’re not sure how to rise to the top of the applicant pile. Applying for jobs and internships can be difficult when you’re not sure what the business is looking for. Here is how you can stand out from other applicants:

  • Keep your resume to one page
  • Make sure your name and contact information are easy to find
  • Include action words that highlight your skills
  • Use keywords from the internship description in your resume
  • List classes you’ve taken and projects you’ve been involved in that are related to the job
  • List your extracurricular activity and volunteer experiences

If you need to include a cover letter be sure to make it all about how you will fit into the company and their culture. Remember: the resume is about you, the cover letter is about them.

Consider your resume and cover letter a writing test, always have a parent, teacher, or mentor review your application before you submit it.

Preparing for the Interview

An interview can be extremely nerve-wracking and sometimes that can affect how you interview. Take deep breaths and review this helpful interview tips:

  • Research the company before you go into your interview, show that you know about who the company is
  • Conduct a mock interview with a parent, teacher, or mentor so that you feel prepared
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Come up with five questions to ask your interviewer

If you spend time preparing before your interview you will not only feel more confident, you will be confident!

Ready to get started but not sure how? Our action teams would love to help get you in touch with the resources and connections you need to apply and prepare for an internship, please contact us to learn more.

 

 

Multiple women sit at a conference table and discuss internships.

How To Find An Internship

An internship can play a vital role in your career. An internship teaches you real, on-the-job skills and provides valuable experience you might not otherwise have exposure to. Internships can also help you decide if the field you are interning in is really where you want to be.

Our team is focused on helping the students of Battle Creek find careers that they love and want to pursue an internship in, so we have put together a guide to help students in their search for the perfect internship.

Where to Look

Be sure to take advantage of college and career fairs when they come to town. These are great opportunities to meet with experts in the career field you are interested in. You can also meet with local business owners and professionals to learn more about their career. You can learn so much from just talking to those who have experience in the career you want, make sure you come prepared with questions!

Resources

Battle Creek has resources available to help our students find the people in Battle Creek they should be connecting with and creating a network with. The Battle Creek Community Foundation can help you find scholarship opportunities through connections with Michigan Works Southwest and the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center.

Battle Creek CAN (BCCAN) is another great resource in the community that wants to assist you in gaining access to information necessary to obtain education beyond high school. Their knowledgeable staff is available to help you achieve your educational goals and prepare for the career of your dreams! They can even help you with financial assistance through The Legacy Scholars program.

Expand Your Network

Don’t be afraid to reach out to businesses or professionals you admire to learn more about their career. You never know, an internship could be waiting for you and it’s just a conversation away! Talk with your teachers and parents to find out who you should connect with and add to your network.

 

Ready to get started but not sure how? Our action teams would love to help get you in touch with the resources and connections you need to find an internship, please visit our website to learn more.

Peecoon Allen poses with some of her employees at Umami Ramen in Battle Creek.

A Dream, Hard Work, and Great Food

Umami Ramen is one of many popular restaurants in Battle Creek. It has a lot in common with other restaurants like great food, a fun atmosphere, and being a place for Battle Creek friends and families to gather and enjoy each other’s company.

But there is one detail that sets Umami Ramen apart from other restaurants: owner and cook, Peecoon Allen.

Meet Peecoon

Born in Thailand, Peecoon didn’t know what was headed her way when her mother put her on a plane for the first time as she was coming to live in America. Peecoon came to Battle Creek in 2009 with the idea of cooking for a living. In 2016 she was able to make that dream a reality when she opened Umami Ramen near downtown Battle Creek.

Business in Battle Creek

When Peecoon and her husband came to Battle Creek, they started evaluating the food options in the area and noticed there was nothing like the ramen-based meals that Peecoon was creating at home.

Peecoon felt confident the people of Battle Creek would enjoy and embrace her cooking, so she began prepping and selling food at the local farmer’s market. Halfway through the season, she became a regular favorite at the market! In 2016, she achieved her dream of creating a diverse food option in Battle Creek when she purchased the building that is now home to Umami Ramen.

Creating Change

Peecon believes in the change of Battle Creek and shows this through her commitment to her business in Battle Creek. She shared with Second Wave Southwest Michigan, “Don’t be afraid to start. I’m 50. It all works out.”

Anyone, at any age, can make a difference in bringing the change we all want to see. With the help, love, and support of Battle Creek business owners like Peecoon Allen, we’re getting closer every day.

We love sharing the stories of those in Battle Creek who are moving us forward and creating a culture of vitality. Do you want to help us move Battle Creek forward? Join us! Click here to get involved!

 

Graduates throw their caps into the air in celebration.

What Does It Mean To Be College Ready?

In Battle Creek, three in ten children under the age of eighteen live in poverty and are still expected to find ways to succeed. Teachers in our classrooms are faced with having to use class time to address this issue instead of being able to help children succeed academically.

We are working hard to help our students prepare for higher education. We want Battle Creek students to have the skills, resources, and ability to apply and attend college. Interested in learning what our goals are for our students and our work to date? Read on:

Our Goal

BCVision’s goal is to help students be successful in the pursuit of careers and life paths that lead them to economic stability, regardless of their race, gender, or financial background. We are doing this by creating community work groups to support our goal and through building relationships between our work groups and our community.

Our Work

To create opportunities for success we have started by conducting a student-centered study that will lead to the creation of a plan of action community-wide. This plan of action will create a strong educational system that is accessible to all students in Battle Creek.

Resources

We have resources available to help our students get prepared to either enter the workforce or attend college upon graduation. From SAT preparation and scholarship opportunities to connections with Michigan Works Southeast and the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center, we have resources ready to help Battle Creek students move forward in their education and career paths.

Our action teams are spearheading this initiative to create a Battle Creek that fosters growth in our students so that they can become successful. Whether you would like to learn more about the work we are doing to help our students become college ready or if you would like to get involved in helping us create successful opportunities, please visit our website to learn more.

Randy Yother smiles in front of some trees while a blue gradient overlays him.

Meet Randy Yother, Our February “Get Caught” Recipient

BCVision is challenging community members to “Get Caught” moving Battle Creek forward through job creation and training, talent development, and community vitalization.

Meet Randy

Randy Yother, the February “Get Caught” campaign recipient, was born and raised in Battle Creek; he knows the neighborhoods like the back of his hand. Randy could see that the kids in Battle Creek could benefit from a better environment to live, learn, and play in. This is how Randy came to co-found The Post Foundation of Battle Creek.

A Culture of Vitality

The Post Foundation provides support to schools and neighborhoods around Battle Creek through creating community gardens, building playgrounds, backpacks filled with supplies, book events and more!

The Post Foundation helps to create a culture of vitality by helping the kids in Battle Creek thrive in the environments where they spend the most time: their schools and neighborhoods.

Keeping the Momentum Going

Randy is so appreciative that Battle Creek has given him the ability to give back to the city. “I’ve been fortunate to work at Post for 40 years and now I can give back to the community,” he shares.

The Best Part

Randy says that the best part about what he does is seeing children smile, saying, “It’s all about the kids.” Randy shares that his favorite thing about Battle Creek is the community in general, because, “…like a family, we stick together and make it better.”

Randy explains that he was shocked when he was announced as the Get Caught winner for February, saying, “It’s very nice and heartfelt. It’s an honor and I appreciate it”.

We thank Randy for creating a culture of vitality and for “Getting Caught” doing amazing things for the Battle Creek Community.

 

Do you know someone who is helping move our community forward? Read here to learn more about how to nominate someone today! And, make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients: Vickie Brennan, Javier Fortoso and Coach Casey.

The inside of a restaurant features stylish yet empty tables.

Learn More About Battle Creek Unlimited’s $200,000 RFP

In December of 2018, Battle Creek Unlimited announced a request for proposals for their $200,000 Restaurant and Dining financial assistance incentive program. We talked with the expert team at Battle Creek Unlimited to find out more about this opportunity and what it means for Battle Creek.

What does bringing a new restaurant mean to our city? 

“This RFP (request for proposals) – arriving on the heels of other exciting projects – is the next tile in our downtown mosaic.  With other initiatives coming online, it’s important to keep momentum.  To our city, a new restaurant will mean more dining options in an underserved market.  This is designed to complement existing Battle Creek dining staples, while taking into account further demand from projects like Heritage Tower and others.”

What do you want people who live in Battle Creek to know about this opportunity?

“We recognize the need for a vibrant downtown.  Battle Creek Unlimited’s resources are already being put to work.  A key part of this RFP is making sure we attract restauranteurs who can fill in the gaps.  This incentive was designed to bring new cuisine or other unique dining experiences not currently here.  We are residents of Battle Creek, too.  It’s no secret there is a significant leakage of disposable income from our community.  We hope, via this project and similar ones, our fellow residents continue to recognize there are exciting things in, and coming to, Battle Creek.”

How will the business be able to use these funds? 

“The incentive is intentionally flexible.  We don’t want to inadvertently discourage a potential restauranteur/developer because of rigid award structure.  Funds could be used toward building purchase/lease, buying equipment or training/hiring staff, as just a few examples.  Mirroring our brewery RFP from a year ago, the restaurant RFP will be tailored to fit the unique project requirements of the award winner, helping them ultimately realize success in our community.”

What other exciting things is Battle Creek Unlimited working on right now?

“Battle Creek Unlimited’s pipeline remains full. Fort Custer Industrial Park continues to thrive. We are excited about the newest company to join the park, Torishima Pump, a Japanese pump manufacturer. Staff is also involved with Aequitas, a transportation service provider beginning operations in February. Looking ahead, BCU is working on strategy efforts to help attract new drone and other related aviation outfits. Additionally, we are excited to see the Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund flourish; over the summer, BCU’s board of directors approved a $1.2 million contribution to the fund. It’s encouraging to see that money already being put to work in the community. Back downtown, beyond the restaurant RFP, we’re keen for New Holland’s planned summer opening, new housing in Heritage Tower and the Restore (269) project at 15 Carlyle (featuring a brewpub, offices and an event space) – all of which BCU played a significant role in. Other efforts for new housing options are on the radar, too. Recently we’ve talked with multiple developers interested in building new residential projects in Battle Creek.”

Interested in learning more about this finance assistance? View the RFP document or contact Battle Creek Unlimited. Proposals close on March 22nd, 2019.