Meet Jason Finley, the new Co-op Coordinator at RTCC

Meet Jason Finley, the new Co-op Coordinator at RTCCIn his new role, Jason will be working to arrange both paid and non-paid work-based learning opportunities for students in the Tech Center’s various programs. Jason will be working with Abbe Meiling on a part-time basis during the 2013-14 academic year, moving to full time next year.

A graduate of Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan with a degree in fine arts, Jason went on to earn his Master of Education degree at Antioch College, as well as his Post Masters Principal Endorsement.

Jason began his career in education at an experiential high school, The Moosalamoo Center, which is part of Otter Valley Union HS in Brandon, VT. There he worked with at risk high school students in environmental studies and outdoor education. As the program became more and more popular, it evolved to include more traditional high school students.

"One of the best experiences I had," he said, "was bringing together what I would call mainstream students with what are technically termed high-risk students. Because when you’re out in the woods sleeping in tents and working with your hands, you can’t tell one type of student from the other. There are no stereotypes when everyone’s hands and faces have dirt on them. What I really appreciated about the program was watching both sets of students get to see how much they had in common, and how easy it was to work and study with each other."

Jason went on from there to work in a new independent study program, where students design their own service learning projects, then share what they’ve learned in a meaningful way with the community. "I had one student," he said, "who researched how nutrition impacts people struggling with post-partum depression. She then took what she learned and developed a cooking show which was later broadcast on local access television."

At RTCC, Jason will be helping students match their academic interests with their work interests via internships and other work-based learning opportunities.

"I’m really excited about what I see here," he said. "This is a unique center in so many ways and the potential to help students move from here into the right job or college is tremendous. One thing I hope I can help students here understand actually comes from a quote by Dr. Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World. It goes something like this: “The world doesn’t care about what you know. The world cares about what you can do with what you know."