At Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples, more than 900 students from area school districts are offered a hands-on look at educational pathways to careers requiring technical skills. Mini-career fairs are designed to show the youngsters some of the choices awaiting them as they explore fields where proper training leads to employment, often within the regional community. Their success is reported as Gov. Mark Dayton proclaims February 2012 “Career and Technical Education Month” for the state of Minnesota.
Most involved are students in grades 10-12, but those as young as eighth grade are sampling degree programs that are educating hundreds of future workers in Central Minnesota. Most of the fairs were possible as a result of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to improve career and technical education and create opportunities to enter high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand employment in Minnesota for all learners.
The first of four mini-fairs during the 2011-12 academic year at CLC was Dec. 2 at the Staples campus, where 216 students from five schools explored 17 career fields. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors came from Pine River-Backus, Staples-Motley, Pierz, Pequot Lakes, and Little Falls.
They attended 30-minute demonstrations and received answers to their questions about CLC career education in Diesel, Heavy Equipment, Robotics, Nursing, Medical Assisting, Machine Trades, Photography, Communication Art and Design, Videography, Welding, Landscape Design, Criminal Justice, Child Development, and Liberal Arts. In addition, three Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Wadena campus programs were represented – Cosmetology, Medical Office, and Computer Networking – and a professional dental hygienist represented that field.
On Jan. 20 at the Staples campus, 210 students in grades 10-12 came from Aitkin, Pillager, Browerville, and the Pine River Alternative Learning Center to enjoy a similar experience.
Twenty-one career programs based at the Staples campus of Central Lakes College and the Wadena campus of M State will be presented at the Feb. 3 mini-career fair in Wadena. Five hundred students are expected from Bertha-Hewitt, Wadena-Deer Creek, Sebeka, New York Mills, Perham, Frazee, and Pine River-Backus.
On Feb. 10 the Staples and Brainerd campuses of CLC will host 80 Staples-Motley eighth graders, as they tour nine technical programs at the Staples campus and get a first look at both career and liberal arts transfer education at the Brainerd campus. A targeted career exploration grant makes this event possible.
On March 9 the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College will host more than 2,000 high school students for the second straight year the fifth annual Career Exploration Day in conjunction with the Bridges Academies and Workplace Connection, a project created through Brainerd Lakes Chamber business and industry partnerships and supported by the Legislature, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, the state Department of Education, and the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp.
Representatives from more than 100 careers give students from 22 school districts an array of choices to sample through professional interactivity.
Watch the video from 2011 at
“ChancellorSteven Rosenstone of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Commissioner Brenda Cassellius of the Minnesota Department of Education continue to build a strong partnership between secondary and post-secondary to better prepare our students and adult learners to enter the workforce,” said JoAnn Simser, MnSCU director of career and technical education.