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Hiring Fair benefits students, businesses

Jill Larson and Travis GIbson of Lindus Construction chat with prospective employees during the hiring fair held last Thursday at St. Croix Central High School. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Stefan Wood helps New Richmond student Brett Malone try on firefighting equipment during the hiring fair. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

More than 200 students from four local high schools got a jump on the job market last Thursday.

The students attended a hiring fair at St. Croix Central High School, where 41 businesses were represented. Students from New Richmond, St. Croix Central, Hudson and River Falls high schools attended the event.

“The hiring fair was established to help build our partnerships with local businesses and to provide our students more in-depth and meaningful employment opportunities,” said St. Croix Central business instructor Nic Haug. “Students that are part of Youth Apprenticeship are supervised more closely by the school and employers. There are checklists and additional educational topics covered to deepen the educational value of the job and to incorporate more of the content learned in school.”

This is the third year of the hiring fair

“In the last two years we have doubled the amount of employers and we have nearly tripled the amount of jobs available for students,” said Hudson School to Career Coordinator Melisa Hansen, another of the organizers of the event. “This year we even had students get hired on site; one student received three job offers.”

The event originated through the St. Croix Valley Youth Apprenticeship Consortium and its steering committee, led by Hansen and Elizabeth Pizzi of Workforce Resource. This group of professionals works together to provide the best possible experience for students and area employers.

Businesses at the event offered jobs ranging from summer employment through youth and registered apprenticeships.The event is designed for interaction between the students and business representatives.

Readiness workshops were offered at each of the high schools before the fair, so the students would understand about what businesses are looking for.

“We worked on (making) first impressions, how to write an elevator pitch, resume critique, interview practice and how to dress for success,” Hansen said. “This year we had employers vote for students  in the categories of: most professionally dressed male, most professionally dressed female, most outstanding resume and most outstanding elevator pitch.”

Organizers of the job fair worked to create an atmosphere where the students would feel comfortable in talking with prospective employers. The event gave students the chance to gain a deeper understanding of some of the businesses within the local communities. This was done so students weren’t just looking at companies for summer jobs, but as companies where they could build a career in the future.

“Students can think about the skill sets they have and how they can get started with jobs that help put their skills to practice,” Hansen said.

The hiring fair was offered to students in different grade levels because of the different apprenticeship options that are available.

“The Youth Apprenticeship program is a one- or two-year option for high school juniors and seniors. It is a mentored paid on the job work experience that combines academic skills, technical skills and workplace application,” Hansen explained. “Students will complete the skills checklist and earn an industry recognized credential offered through the Department of Workforce Development. Our goal is to increase the number of students participating in this program because we see the value it brings to our youth and our businesses. It helps businesses to fill their pipeline of workers and students gain work-ready skills.”

The businesses involved liked the fact that the students were prepared for the event.

“We found that many students were truly engaged and asked great questions during the event and as a company in the community, we couldn’t be more happy with our results,” said Jill Larson of Lindus Construction.

Social media marketing was used to promote the event, and to promote the youth apprenticeship program. More information can be found by visiting St. Croix Valley Youth Apprenticeship on Facebook. More information can also be obtained by contacting Hansen at 715-377-3712 or at

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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