7Everyday Hero Dot Miller provides workforce readiness class for Jeffco teens

Jefferson County Business Education Alliance

ARVADA, Colo. -- Sometimes it is a challenge to get teenagers to look beyond right now but there is a high school class in town that has teens excited about their future. 

It begins with a 7Everyday Hero Dot Miller. 

"It is a program we started back in 2011," Miller said. 

Miller is a business owner in Arvada who noticed many young people lacking business skills and confidence. To help students and potential employers, she formed the Jefferson County Business Education Alliance. 

"It is to help students become workforce-ready," Miller said.

One aspect of the JCBEA provides mock interview sessions for the students. It involves real business owners who come to the school and ask tough questions. 

"I was super nervous. Like, I was sweaty. That's how nervous I was," explained Jazmine VanBuren, a senior at Wheat Ridge High School. 
 
"I will break character once in a while and say: 'Hey, that was a great answer!' or 'Don't embellish that so much.' And things of that nature," said Realtor John Bodnar. 

"If we think back, every single one of us, when we had our first job, we were scared, we didn't know, what we didn't know," Miller said. 

Miller's "work force ready" training is now in nine Jefferson County high schools. 

"I think this really opens the student's eyes to how close they are to being adults," said teacher Tim Slater. 

"It gets you motivated for after high school and exactly knowing what you need to do," said Angelo Vecchiarelli, a senior at Wheat Ridge High School. 

"It gives you more practice. And I need more practice because I am shy and I really don't like talking. So, it made me get out of my comfort zone a little bit," VanBuren added. 

The JCBEA program also energizes the business owners. 

"We had a Realtor from Golden interviewing one time in our very first classroom and he said. 'Listen, I'm just here to do this mock interview, I'm not hiring.' Well, he ended up offering a job to that girl that day, he was so impressed. He had no idea he was going to be that impressed with these students," Miller said. 

"I leave feeling pumped up, you know? She's offered me a chance to revitalize myself," Bodnar said.

All this from one person who volunteered to help her community. 

"It is our hope and my dream that every teacher will want this in their classroom across the county," Miller said.

To learn more about the Jefferson County Business Education Alliance go to www.jcbea.org.

Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.

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