Bridges Career Exploration Day Takes Over Central Lakes College
“It’s really fun having a lot of options that you can choose from and that they are just right there to go for,” said Isabel Heldt, a sophomore at Brainerd High School.
The CLC campus in Brainerd was buzzing with eager students looking to the future.
“The students are out exploring careers,” said Mary Gottsch, Bridges Career Academy Executive Director. “We have over 200 careers that the students can come out, do some exploration and do some hands-on activities.”
There were about 100 local businesses at the event, organized into cluster areas. One of those was public safety, which included a stop from the Brainerd Fire Department.
“The students try on our gear and do a mock room search to kind of get a feel for what it is like to put on the fire gear and be a firefighter,” said Dave Cox, Brainerd Fire Department Deputy Chief.
Many students were up for the challenge and completed the mock room search all while not being able to see.
“It was really heavy, hard and sweaty,” said Summer Mayo, a sophomore at Little Falls High School.
Other businesses just spent time talking with the students.
“Sometimes you get so caught up in your head and you think, ‘I don’t know what careers there are,’ so it is really helpful to come down here and see all of the possibilities,” said Gemma Peterson, a sophomore at Brainerd High School.
And there was a focus on networking among the students.
“What our hopes and dreams are is that youth will come in and they will be with their friends, either a large group or maybe a best friend with them, and they are experiencing it together,” Gottsch said.
And all businesses at the event are located within a 60-mile radius of campus.
“And then, to keep them here after they are done with school,” said Sue Hilgart, the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program Manager. “That way, we don’t have that brain drain going out of our community, so we can keep gifted and talented students right here in the Brainerd Lakes Area.”