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Students explore career paths at fair

The seeds of future careers were planted Thursday at the annual New Richmond Middle School Career Fair.

Now it's up to the students to choose a path and begin to promote growth and skills.

The Career Fair has been around for more than a decade. It's a joint effort between the school district, New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce and B.I.C.E.P. (Business, Industry, Community, Education, Parents organization).

Students were provided a list of about 30 visiting business people and were allowed to listen to several presentations during their allotted time. The students were able to listen to four different presentations each.

The presenters were scattered throughout the gymnasium, and each had information and props to give students an idea of what their job entails. Each presentation lasted about 20 minutes, including questions from students.

Representatives from a variety of professions were on hand, including a chiropractor, musician, caterer, attorney and dog groomer.

B.I.C.E.P. member Len Harbosky said so many business people want to be involved in the fair, a waiting list has developed over the years.

Each year, when the day of the fair arrives, Harbosky said he's amazed at how interested the students are in the presentations.

"The kids are always quite attentive," he said.

Kent Elkin, a co-chair for the event, said the fair is a great link between the schools and local businesses. Creating such links is the goal of B.I.C.E.P.

"This seems to fit right in for us," he said. "It helps us partner with the district. It's a really nice link that a lot of towns don't have."

Harbosky said conducting a career fair during the Middle School years is unusual, but he said the timing is perfect for many kids.

"You want to develop career awareness," he said. "The earlier the involvement the better. These days, by eighth or ninth grade, students already kind of have a career path in mind."

Elkin said students are taking college entry exams earlier, and with the cost of post-secondary education they are zeroing in on a field quicker.

"You can't go to college and flounder around any more," he said.

Organizers said the fair takes a great deal of cooperation to make it a success. Among others who make the Career Fair possible are Mary Smasal and co-chair Corey Maires.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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