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Career education

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
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

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