CBIA BizCast: G.R.I.T. Students Showcase Summer Learning
As students across Connecticut begin the new school year, some are returning to class after a summer filled with learning.
More than 70 students recently completed CBIA affiliate ReadyCT’s G.R.I.T. (Get Ready! Immersive Traineeship) summer program.
The CBIA BizCast team traveled to Pathways Academy of Technology and Design Aug. 9 for the annual G.R.I.T. showcase.
The students represented six Hartford-area schools: Weaver High School, Hartford Public High School, Bulkeley High School, Great Path Academy, Pathways Academy, and East Hartford High School.
“I think of it as almost a free internship. It’s geared towards the younger high school students,” said Rachel Bader, Travelers assistant vice president, multi-national and chair of the Insurance and Finance Pathway at Weaver.
“It really just allows them a way to learn more skills while still practicing a real business project.”
During the five-week program, the student teams worked with the businesses and ReadyCT to complete and deliver their projects.
“ReadyCT provides all the infrastructure,” said Bader. “As a business sponsor, we just come in multiple times a week to focus on the business aspect.
“So it’s a great partnership between the corporate sponsor of this project, and then everything ReadyCT brings to the table.”
For Weaver High School rising junior Darren Burdette, the program was a chance to work with a team and learn new skills.
The project Burdette and his team worked on was to find the best ways to promote Travelers’ new QuantumSubro business.
“Before I started this internship, I was a really shy person, I was not a person that liked to work in groups,” said Darren Burdette, a rising junior at Weaver.
“But G.R.I.T. and Travelers have taught me how to communicate and work with others and step outside my comfort zone.”
After developing their project, the team presented the results to Travelers.
“When it came to presenting, I was a little bit nervous, because that’s not something I’m really used to,” Burdette said.
“But like I said, G.R.I.T. has taught me to step outside my comfort zone, and I kept practicing. I got better at it.”
And students don’t just come away from the program with new skills.
G.R.I.T. also offers them an early look at where they may want to go in their careers.
For Burdette, that could mean a job at Travelers.
“Their environment is so beautiful, and their people were so nice, they come in happy to work, and you know, they give off good energy, good vibes,” he said.
“So after this, I’d probably want to work for Travelers. I’m not gonna lie.”
“I feel like you guys are just getting such a great head start knowing what’s available and matching that with what your interests are,” Bader said.
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