Career Path Education in Roseville
11 Mar 2022
Today’s high school students face a labor market that presents many opportunities possible to them after graduation. Yet starting down that path can be a confusing and overwhelming step for many. Fortunately for the Roseville community, local high schools offer students some direction as they delve into what their futures may hold.
“Career Pathways is about helping students begin their career exploration process because most do not know what is out there,” said Brynn McConnell, the Career Navigator at Roseville Area High School.
Roseville residents are served by two public high schools, Roseville Area High School and Mounds View High School, each of which has a Career Pathways program. The Roseville program has a curriculum for ten different career pathways, like engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality and information technology, each based on current workforce needs developed through collaboration with area businesses, Mn DEED, Mn Department of Education and other organizations.
“I serve as an intermediary between local businesses and students, coordinating opportunities that can result in student internships and other career exposure opportunities for students,” said McConnell. “But more than that, it includes helping them understand how to take classes while in high school that will earn them free college credits or industry credentials.”
Mounds View High School has a similar Career Pathways program with an emphasis on relationships with local businesses, led by Mindy Handberg, Mounds View Public Schools Director of Community Partnerships.
“My role is to add value for students outside the classroom, in terms of opportunities like job shadow, mentorships, field trips and internships,” she said. “We try to create answers for students to understand why classroom learning is important.”
Glimpse into industry
While Career Pathways gives students a look into their possible futures with internships and apprenticeships, it provides local businesses an ability to increase their prospective employee pool. Local companies like MME Group and Mortensen took Roseville students as full-time interns in the summer of 2021. Hayden Haag, now a senior at Roseville High School, participated in the program as a junior, undertaking a summer internship with the general construction engineering company Mortensen. Haag’s dream job is an architect and the eight-week summer job introduced him to the overall construction process, both at Mortensen’s Golden Valley headquarters and various construction sites.
Although periodically waking at 4:30 a.m. to get to job sites on time took some getting used to, the experience reinforced his architect dream and offered motivation during his senior year, becoming the leader of the Architecture, Construction & Engineering (ACE) Club and mentoring underclassmen.
“More than I could in the classroom, I quickly saw the importance of networking and developing connections, while learning the software programs and inner workings of architecture,” said Haag, who plans to attend NDSU and major in architecture. “Career Pathways gives you a step ahead of others with its opportunities and shows you how to look for other benefits that will be helpful after high school.”
Mounds View High School students served summer internships with numerous partners, such as Empirehouse, Fedtech, MME Group and Quanex. At Fedtech, a custom machining and manufacturing company, students were able to job shadow CAD designers and machine operators, with some limited ability to operate equipment like waterjet and laser cutting machines. The students received the opportunity to witness Fedtech’s manufacturing process, from receiving a customer blueprint and developing the programming to create a part, to actually witnessing the actual production of that part. That introduction is critical for students who do not have as much exposure to manufacturing as they would have years ago when Industrial Tech courses were more prevalent in high schools, said Christine Stifter, HR & Accounting Manager at Fedtech.
“Offering them the ability to see this while still in high school opens the realization for many that a four-year college degree is not necessarily the path for everyone,” she said. “Interning with us is an excellent way to show them the range of careers available to them.”
Showcasing these possibilities to students has a benefit to employers as well.
“The program obviously expands our pool of prospective applicants, whether they want to work right out of school or think of us after completing post-secondary schooling,” said Stifter. “Additionally, we really value the ability to connect with the community.”
Roseville values workforce education
Many Roseville business owners have grown up in the area, are familiar with the local schools and value programs like Career Pathways. As a result, the school district has been successful in correlating student education with workforce development with efforts like the Roseville Area School District’s 2017 building bond, which included funding for an emphasis on workforce development like state-of-the-art commercial kitchens and automotive-training facilities.
“Students are lucky the community realizes the importance of investing in them,” said McConnell. “Our community values a diverse student body that has a social justice mindset.”
Handberg agrees that the Roseville community believes students should be introduced to many forms of post-secondary possibilities.
“Local businesses and parents recognize that there are opportunities for our children in more than just attending a four-year college,” she said. “We have been fortunate to receive grant funding for a new welding lab and have been able to take our traditional woodworking curriculum and introduce a focus on current community needs in construction and solar energy.”
To learn more about workforce development in Roseville, email the City of Roseville Economic Development Authority or call (651) 792-7015.
The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.