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Career Challenge Day Success in Randolph

by Jillian Scannell

Middle school girls at Career Challenge Day try soldering metal


For almost twenty years, Vermont Works for Women has hosted Career Challenge Day at Randolph Technical Career Center (RTCC).

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 RTCC in a supportive environment.  

Career Challenge Day 2024  

This year 85 students from eight schools participated in empowering, hands-on activities in different non-traditional programs at the tech center Visiting students had the chance to learn about RTCC’s 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:  

  • Automotive Technology – learn how to solder metal, use a tire changer machine, and run a car diagnostic test
  • Construction Technology – use a variety of tools, including a miter saw, wood burners, electric sander, circular saw, and jigsaw
  • Criminal Justice & Cyber Security – crack passwords, investigate virtual crime scenes, and learn how to dust for fingerprints
  • Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management – roll out, shape, and cook homemade pasta
  • Dental Assisting – make teeth impressions, try topical anesthetic, and learn about dental exam room equipment
  • Diesel Technology – practice starting a school bus engine, learn how to change a truck tire, and solder wire bracelets.
  • Digital Filmmaking & Media Arts – learn to use various cameras, photo editing software, and ‘paint’ with light
  • Diversified Agriculture – visit an active sugar house to see sap boiling and taste sugar on snow, operate an excavator, and try timber sports
  • Electrical Technology – wire an outlet from start to finish, including installation to turn on a light.
  • Manufacturing & Fabrication – practice welding, use a CNC machine, cut metal sheets with a plasma cutter, and learn about 3D printing
  • Pre-Tech – make pepper jam from scratch, design a virtual bridge, and learn about 3D printing
Middle school students practice examining finger prints at Career Challenge Day A middle school girl tries using a saw at Career Challenge Day






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 middle school girl tries using a backhoe at Career Challenge Day A current tech center student shows a middle school girl how to use a plasma cutter at Career Challenge Day






Student Feedback 

Students complete a survey at the end of the day, giving VWW and RTCC valuable information about their experience – what they enjoyed, how prepared staff were, and whether they did something they hadn’t realized they were capable of before attending Career Challenge Day.

  • 74%      “I did something today that I didn’t know I was capable of before attending CCD”
  • 67%      “I would like to learn more about RTCC”
  • 62%      Before attending CCD I knew about all of the career options and possibilities for women and gender-expansive people
  • 96%      After attending CCD I know about all of the career options and possibilities for women and  gender-expansive people
  • 67%      “I would like to learn more about RTCC”


To learn more about Career Challenge Day at RTCC or be notified of the event next year, please contact Ada Case at