Since the early 2000s, Building Bridges has existed to build lasting relationships between educators and businesses in the Bangor region.
Thanks to the program, hundreds of teachers, administrators, career counselors and workforce specialists have gained insight into the business makeup of their local communities. This is accomplished through behind-the-scenes tours of businesses and organizations, where educators gain a firsthand look into the business’s make-up, position in the local economy, human resources needs, and hiring trends.
Building Bridges continued its momentum in 2013 with strong business partnerships and record participation. Thanks to the program’s affiliation with the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, Building Bridges has built valuable relationships with businesses across multiple industries in our region.
This past year’s curriculum was made up of 19 businesses and organizations, representative of such industries as customer service, healthcare, social services, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, energy and nonprofit.
The program culminated with a special tour of the then yet-to-open Cross Insurance Center, which was organized by the Building Bridge’s program premier sponsor, Cianbro. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cianbro, which has sponsored the program for the last two years, and will be continuing its support in 2014. This year, Cianbro will take participants on an exciting tour of the $250 million expansion project at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
These partnerships with regional businesses enable Building Bridges to offer a worthwhile program for the 25 educators that experience it each year. In fact, due to an increased demand, there was a record 29 participants in the 2013 course.
I’m happy to report that we have a full class for 2014 as well, made up of educators from K-12, higher education, and technical/career institutions. The program runs from January through May of each year. Anyone wishing to enroll in the future can contact the Chamber directly.
As we begin the year, the Building Bridges Steering Committee is brainstorming ways to take the mission of the program further. The intersection of business and education is imperative to a vital economy, and Building Bridges is determined to serve as an effective conduit to help drive that vitality. As such, it is my goal that Building Bridges offers new programming, in addition to our core Jan-May course, that forges relationships and facilitates conversation between our educators and business leaders. Look for more to come later in the year.
Thank you to the Building Bridges Steering Committee and Chamber staff for another successful year, particularly Angela Marcolini from the University of Maine, who led the program for the last two years. I am excited for what is to come in 2014 and look forward to continuing the great work Building Bridges has done to unite business and education in the Bangor region.