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Career Challenge Day Returns to GMTCC

by Jillian Scannell

Middle school girl brazes copper pipes at Career Challenge day at GMTCC.


For the second year in a row, Vermont Works for Women held Career Challenge Day at Green Mountain Technology and Career Center (GMTCC) in Hyde Park, Vermont on February 9, 2024.  

Career Challenge Day is a free, day-long career exploration event that provides girls and gender-expansive youth in grades 6-8 with the opportunity to try hands-on activities at GMTCC in a supportive environment.  

Career Challenge Day 2024  

This year 88 students from nine schools across the Lamoille Valley participated in empowering, hands-on activities in different non-traditional programs at the tech center Visiting students had the chance to learn about six of GMTCC’s 12 programs by meeting instructors and current students, getting their hands on special tools, and experiencing a taste of common projects in each of the different fields:  

  • Allied Health – practice CPR, taking blood pressure and pulse, talking about mental health and learning about anatomy   
  • Automotive Technology – check oil levels, plug a hole in a tire and change a tire
  • Business Administration – create vision boards  
  • Computer Technology – explore 3D-printing, try virtual reality  
  • Construction Technology – build storage boxes using power tools using drills and jigsaws, practice using nail guns and reciprocating saws
  • Creative Media Art & Design – use digital cameras to take photos in the studio space and edit them using design software 
  • Culinary Arts – make homemade pasta dough 
  • Electrical Tech – wire an outlet  
  • Forestry & Land Management – operate excavator, use a cross-cut saw, ID twigs and leaves, learn how to tap a tree and have sugar on snow
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning – braze copper pipes   
  • Pre-Technology – use a variety of woodworking tools including a CNC router, wood burners, band saw, jigsaw, drill, disc sander, and belt sander  
  • Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems – learn about soil and meet goats 
Middle School student uses woodworking tools during Career Challenge Day Middle school student tries wiring an outlet at Career Challenge Day at GMTCC.






Why is Career Challenge Day Important?  

Research and our experience prove that early exposure to STEM and trades career fields inspires more girls and gender-expansive students to enroll in their tech center and/or pursue fields where their gender is often underrepresented. It is clear from the student feedback that participants felt safe, inspired, and like they explored something they might have not thought about before Career Challenge Day. 

A current tech center student shows a middle school girl how to use a sander. Middle school student tries making pasta at Career Challenge Day.






Student Feedback 

Students complete a survey at the end of the day, giving VWW and GMTCC valuable information about their experience – what they enjoyed, how prepared staff where, if they could see themselves being a student at GMTCC and whether they had an interest in trades/STEM before attending Career Challenge Day.

  • 84%      “I did something today that I didn’t know I was capable of before attending CCD”
  • 87%      “I would like to learn more about GMTCC”
  • 53%      Before attending CCD had an interest in Trades and/or STEM careers 
  • 79%      After attending CCD had an interest in Trades and/or STEM careers
  • 87%      “I can see myself being a student here”


To learn more about Career Challenge Day at GMTCC or be notified of the event next year, please contact Sarah Raimondi at