Partner Perspectives on Workplace Learning and the Role of Launch Now
At Launch Now, we are passionate about connection, and we mean that in a multitude of ways—from linking students’ interests with opportunities to introducing schools to community partners. We are grateful to the collaborators who make these connections possible, and we look forward to serving them and many others as our platform grows. In this three-part series, we highlight a few of those individuals and organizations who understand the value of workplace learning and who have been supporting our mission since the beginning.
Shining a Light on Job Shadowing
Chinburg Properties is a premier development, construction, and property management firm that has grown from a small family business to the largest builder of homes in the Seacoast region. Chinburg’s interest in Launch Now is driven in part by their desire to reach out to high schools and connect with potential talent as their team continues to expand.
“As a business that depends in great part on the trades, it’s important for us to generate interest in these types of jobs among the younger generations,” says Emilie MacDonald, Chinburg’s talent development coordinator.
This year Emilie helped to create an official shadowing program, inspired by her own shadowing experience at the firm.
“One of the benefits of our company is that we do so many different things, across so many fields,” Emilie explains. “Our goal is for students to experience as many different parts of the business as possible and get interested in one of them—or none of them! Many of wish we had the opportunity to rule careers in or out at an early age.”
Chinburg’s human resources manager Michelle Glidden shares Emilie’s excitement for the shadowing program and for the role Launch Now will play in this effort.
“Launch Now will be enormously helpful in initiating and maintaining connections with area schools,” says Michelle. “The platform eliminates cumbersome processes and administrative requirements, which are typically a ton of work. This means we can reach far more high school students than we could on our own.”
Emilie and Michelle each have their own stories of job exploration and understand firsthand how careers are as much a journey as a destination. Michelle worked in the passport center at the U.S. Department of State in New Hampshire before returning to school to study accounting, eventually joining Chinburg in an accounting role. Having grown up in a mill building that was renovated by Chinburg, Michelle was already familiar with the company and experienced firsthand how they made her community of Newmarket a better place to live. Michelle loved accounting but eventually missed the interpersonal aspects of a more communication-driven role. So, when a human resources position opened at the firm, Chinburg supported her change of hats.
After she graduated college, Emilie has what she describes as a wild journey that included teaching second grade in a charter school in DC. The COVID-19 pandemic eventually brought her back to New Hampshire, where she jumped at the opportunity to shadow several roles at Chinburg. She fell in love with the company and quickly applied for a role as an assistant project manager for the residential team. She served in this position for a year and a half before helping to craft a new role focused on talent development during a time of tremendous growth for the company. As an example of her work, Emilie led the creation of a seven-week course to help field staff understand how to read construction plans.
“Experts in the company led the course, and the participants were eager to learn,” said Emilie. “We received some excellent feedback, and the desire for more was clearly there.”
Michelle adds that the company culture at Chinburg is what makes much of this possible. Leadership encourages and supports professional development at all levels.
“This family run company was founded more than 30 years ago, and what started as a three-person firm has grown to a team of 145 people,” explains Michelle. “But despite that growth, the company continues to be warm and welcoming and supportive. Everyone is passionate about the variety of projects they get to work on. And I think we are all grateful to have the opportunity to work with such uniquely talented people.”
After a successful trial run with a handful of high school students this past year, the Chinburg team is very optimistic for the launch of their formal job shadowing program in the coming months and eager to leverage Launch Now in that effort.