The History of the BEC


The Durango community has been supporting high school internships for over a decade, and thank you doesn’t begin to do justice to our many mentors.


Both Animas High School (AHS) and Big Picture High School (BPHS) opened their doors in 2009 with AHS LINK Internships and BPHS LTI Internships as backbones to their unique career preparation programs. The two schools began collaborating on their internship coordination, both to benefit the students and to consider the wider implications on the community of numerous student interns in the field. With time, it became clear that a centralized work-based learning hub would benefit both the students and the community of supporters. 


Meanwhile, Durango High School was busy building their Career & Technical Education (CTE) programming for their students, offering eleven different pathways for students to gain experience and training in top growing career fields. When DHS decided to expand their CTE program to include internships and secured the Homegrown Talent Initiative grant to support the growth, it became clear that a centralized work-based learning hub would absolutely be necessary. 

Janae Hunderman is almost a Durango native, depending on your definition, and is a graduate of Durango High School. She’s taught in Bayfield, at the Durango Adult Education Center, in Latin America, and most recently at Animas High School, where she was the Career Counselor and Internship Coordinator for five years. Janae is an active member of the Leadership La Plata Steering Committee, a Chamber Board Member, a graduate of the Skillful Colorado Governor’s Coaching Corps, a Colorado Career Development Association board member, and she maintains multiple coaching certifications. 


As part of the Animas High School Project-Based Learning model, the 2019 AHS staff took part in "Take Action" projects modeled after student projects at the school. Janae's project turned into a community-wide event to connect students with professionals and the experience became yet another example of the need of a centralized work-based learning hub. 


Thus, in July of 2020, the Business Education Connection was born. The three schools collaborated and agreed to jointly hire Janae in the first shared position between Animas High School and Durango School District 9-R.


Janae brings her passion for connecting others to life-changing opportunities and experiences to her position as the founding Work-Based Learning Coordinator of the BEC. Reach out to her to learn more about the program and to see how you can support!  

Janae is passionate about this work and has studied both career development and coaching: 

  • Certified Career Services Provider & Certified School Career Development Advisor, National Career Development Association

  • Certified Co-Active Coach, Co-Active Training Institute

  • Associate Certified Coach, International Coaching Federation

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