The Worthington Public School (ISD518) in partnership with the SW MN Private Industry Council (www.swmnpic.org) Youth and Young Adult Programs, and Worthington Chamber of Commerce hosted their 5th local Career Fair February 14th, 2020 for their students in grades 11-12 from the High School, and 9-12 grades from the Learning Center.

Employers in the region are challenged to recruit and hire employees with the skills needed for even entry-level employment with a projected population decline in our rural region and a current regional unemployment rate of 2.1%, the lowest rate in decades. Additionally, our region’s Jobseekers per Vacancy rate is 0.5 (DEED Data Tools). Employers are screaming for workers to fill their jobs and with few people moving to the region, Greater Minnesota is largely dependent on high school graduates flowing into the workforce.

As students and their parents look forward to the world of work, they face the challenge of not knowing what local careers and pathways exist and acquiring the education and skills needed for that job. There are many factors that students consider when deciding on their educational or career paths, but one influencer stands out: parents (Tapping Homegrown Talent, Greiner, 2018). According to Luke Greiner, DEED Regional Labor Market Analyst for Southwest Minnesota, 75% of students surveyed in southwestern MN indicated they would stay in their area if they had an acceptable job prospect. Sharing upfront the wage potential, education requirements, and in-house training employers provide or college assistance/scholarship assistance company’s offer and how to get connected to those opportunities through the local careers is powerful for our students and their families today.

The labor market is much different than it was so many years ago and awareness and exposure for our youth and their parents of future real, local career and training options is critical in today’s economy. Rural Minnesota has incredible career and educational opportunities, unfortunately many students and adults are not aware of them. If we are to help our future workforce develop the skills and leadership which will allow our economy to thrive, we must heighten awareness about the great career pathways, employment and educational opportunities that exist in our region.

It is critical to engage our future workforce with local employers and community mentors to inform our young people of the regional jobs in demand, and career pathway opportunities within local industry while also providing guidance and understanding to our students on proper career attainment dynamics, such as interviewing skills, soft skills, and career planning focuses.” says Eriann Faris, Program Manager for the PIC.

AGCO (Round Lake), Avalon Beauty Academy (Worthington), Bedford Industries (Worthington), CFANS Admissions (St. Paul), Christensen Farms (Throughout Southwest Minnesota), Ecumen (Worthington), Energy Center of Excellence (MN West), Family Dentistry (Worthington), First State Bank (Southwest Minnesota), Fulda Area Credit Union (Fulda), Iowa Lakes Community College (Iowa Great Lakes Region), Jaycox Implement (Worthington), JBS USA, LLC (Worthington), Johnson Builders & Realty Inc. (Worthington), Lakeview Electric (Southwest Minnesota), Maple Lawn Senior Care (Fulda), Midwestern Mechanical (Sioux Falls), Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (St. Paul), Minnesota Department of Trasportation (St. Paul), Minnesota National Guard, New Vision (Brewster), Nobles County Community Services, Prairie Rehabilitation (Worthington), Project Build MN, Ridgewater Community College (Willmar), Sanford (Worthington), SDSU – Admissions and Dairy Science Program (Brookings, SD), Smith Trucking Inc. (Worthington), South Shore Care Center/ Crossroads (Worthington), SMSU (Marshall), The Globe (Worthington), Worthington Area YMCA and Minnesota West Community and Technical College Administrative Assistant Program (Worthington), Automotive Technology Program (Jackson), Computer Networking Program (Jackson), Cosmetology Program (Jackson and Pipestone), CTC Law Enforcement Program (Worthington), Health Information Technology Program (Pipestone), Powerline Program (Jackson), and Power Sports Technology Program (Jackson).

We are already in the planning stages for 2021, if you are interested in participating in next years Career Fair please save the date- February 12th, 2021- for more information contact Andre Adame at aadame@swmnpic.org or at 507-760-1600.