UND plays host to expo for regional 10th graders to see what job and schooling choices are available to them


Connor Murphy

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UND plays host to expo for regional 10th graders to see what job and schooling choices are available to them

The fourth annual Northern Valley Careers Expo was held recently in November at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

More than 1,500 sophomores from 28 area high schools attended in hopes of learning more about career and educational opportunities within the region. Healthcare providers, local businesses, automotive dealerships, regional colleges and others provided students an inside look to numerous career paths.

The show floor was filled with exhibitor booths and areas where students could get hands-on experience with equipment and technologies. Aside from the show floor experience, the sophomores each attend different career sessions. The sessions provided more in-depth information for those interested in learning about the respective field.

The variety of careers is something that Keith Lund, a member of the Expo Planning Committee, wanted to communicate to students through the Expo.

“We’re working to provide awareness to students about what opportunities are close to home,” Lund said. “Experiential learning in both high schools and colleges is on the upswing, and we want to create awareness for those that can have careers within this region.”

Lund, who is also vice president of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., mentioned survey results from students that have attended past events. Of those that responded, 78 percent said they were more likely to pursue careers within the Red River Valley after seeing the opportunities showcased. The ultimate goal, according to Lund, is workforce retention for those ages 25-35 in the region.

The number of exhibitors and students is growing each year, and while the planning process for the Expo is year-round, Lund doesn’t want the event to be a one-and-done deal for exhibitors.

“We are currently working to help exhibitors establish further events and programs in reaching students,” he said. “This includes more hands-on, experiential learning and job shadowing opportunities.”

Gretchen Schatz, associate director for the University of North Dakota’s Office of Extended Learning, and member of the Expo Planning Committee, expressed her support for the event by saying it’s fantastic for all involved, students and exhibitors alike.

“Students get to choose what careers they want to learn about, listen to experts from different career fields, then go to the show floor and see those careers in action,” Schatz said. “Also, they can talk to a college or university that offers the education they need to get a job. We are one of the only events in our region that can offer students this all-inclusive experience.”

For more information on the expo, visit northernvalleycareers.com.

Connor MurphyUND Office of Extended Learning writer

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