By Per Peterson
For the second time in the last three years, students are invited to take a peek into their possible future at the Careers 2 Come Home To Career Fair on March 9. And this year, the event will be broadened, as adults looking for career possibilities will also be included in a job fair later in the day.
Both events will take place at the Veterans Memorial Center in downtown Tracy. Community Development Director Jeff Carpenter said he recently spent some time with Tracy Area High School students during their Ramp-Up time to get a feel of where they are at with their future and to let them know about the upcoming career fair.
“They know it’s coming,” Carpenter said. “I gave some examples of keeping their options open — they’re seniors or juniors, they think they know what they’re going to go into, but I want them to keep their options open because there’s a lot of good jobs out there.”
Carpenter said that the event serves two purposes: to get students thinking about their future — such as a two-year school or a four-year school — and to remind them that there are opportunities in their own backyard.
“I went into what kind of professional jobs are available here, in Tracy,” he said. “I asked them what the most important job in Tracy was, and all three of the grades got it — it was teachers. I just want them to have it in their heads that they know that there’s something for them to come back for.”
Carpenter said there were a number of seniors who said they would like nothing more than to come back to Tracy after college to begin their career.
Students will be bused from the school to the VMC, and each group will spend 45 minutes at the fair.
A second piece of this year’s event is a job fair, which will take place after the career fair for youth ends.
“I thought since we were doing this again, why don’t we have an actual job fair?” Carpenter said. “A number of people who saw this in the paper gave me a call afterwards, like CareerForce (which is marketing the fairs through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development).
“They got involved and we got some advertising through them,” said Carpenter. “Anybody unemployed in the area will have some kind of note or an email that we’re having a career fair.”
Carpenter said the idea of a career fair was born out of a meeting between himself and Sonja Gasca, Tracy Area High School counselor, and Tracy Area High School Principal Kathy Vondracek.
“I said, ‘Why wouldn’t we open it up,’” Carpenter said. “We’re already here, we’ve already got everyone set up. For me, it’s everybody who leaves town and goes somewhere else — if we can keep some of those people in town so they don’t have to spend money on gas going somewhere everyday …”
A total of 25 businesses or organizations will be represented at the career and job fairs. The career fair for students will take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and the job fair will be from 3-7 p.m., both at the VMC.
“The number of businesses that are looking for people right now is crazy,” said Carpenter. “If we can get a couple out of each class that are going to come back here, that would be great.”