Article by: Cathy Enerson
On March 3rd, Southeast Minnesota high school students, their parents and the general public were invited to attend a Job and Career Fair at Fillmore Central School in Preston. By all accounts, the first Job and Career Fair was a success!
28 businesses/organizations in the retail, tourism, health care, manufacturing and construction industries were on hand to speak with 90 students from Preston, Harmony, Mabel, Canton, and Chatfield schools who passed through the job fair and attended the four career sessions. Jen Strand, Recruitment Marketing Consultant/Event Coordinator at Jobs HQ collaborated in organizing the event with Cathy Enerson, Preston EDA Director and CEDA team member. The companies had booths where people could find out how to actually apply for a position (or if they’d already applied, they could find out what’s next). There was no cost or registration required for interested job seekers who attended, Jen Strand shared that “attending helps job seekers discover jobs they didn’t know existed – the hidden job market.”
The genesis of the job fair is the new veterans home proposed to be built in Preston. Enerson shared information on how this job fair came to be. “It was a combination of things. It was the fact that the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce was interested in promoting opportunities for part-time, seasonal and volunteer opportunities. As well as the fact that, should the MDVA (Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs) project happen in the next couple of years we will need to fill 139 jobs, we want to know how to run a successful job and career fair. We want to prepare Preston.”
The day ended with when a panel of nine local business leaders and entrepreneurs sharing their career journey from high school to where they are today in the careers. The panelists shared a theme of following your passion and volunteering.
“Thanks so much for including Mabel-Canton in the job & career fair. It was VERY ORGANIZED and the format was great! The kids chattered about what they saw on the entire trip home. It supports all the conversations that I’m having with kids each day!” said Lana Hollar, K-12 School Counselor at Mabel-Canton Public Schools.