Southern Minnesota high schoolers get hands-on look at careers in the trades

Career fair at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center drew over 1,000 students from 25 area high schools.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:56 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Over 1,000 students from 25 area high schools came to the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center Wednesday to see what their life could be like after high school.

“It’s exciting to know what is out there for students. What they could go into and what the opportunities that they have for their near future. Your junior and senior year is when you need to start settling down and what your opportunities are,” explained Christian Stephens, a student at Madelia High School.

Construct Tomorrow opened up shop in Mankato to let students know their options for registered apprenticeships and construction trades in Minnesota, which proved to be an asset for Stephens.

“I used to work for a roofing company in Texas, I’m from there. So, seeing this is kind of reminding me of what I used to do. I can see myself in construction,” Stephens stated.

This construction fair is crucial for educating the next generation of the workforce, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hurt the trades industry.

“A lot of skilled labor is really in demand right now, and there are a lot of kids that aren’t really aware that it is out there,” commented Rik Myhre, senior project manager at JE Dunn Construction and co-chair of Construct Tomorrow’s board of directors. “They like to do things with their hands or be outside, and they aren’t made aware of it in schools.”

Some of the hands-on activities included crane simulations, bricklayers, painters and wheel-barrowing sandbags.

“I mean, they are seeing what really happens when you join and first sign up for an apprenticeship; the training that you receive,” Myhre added.

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