Nice to know: White collar, blue collar and now ‘new’ collar jobs

Published 9:24 pm Friday, July 7, 2017

Recently IBM CEO Ginni Rometty coined the phrase “new collar” to describe jobs requiring first-rate skills, but not necessarily a traditional four-year degree. Rometty urged a new approach to vocational training, “creating a national corps of skilled workers trained to take the new collar IT jobs that are in demand.” She also identified a “job skills gap — the difference between the skills workers have and the skills employers want.”

So what is a “new collar” job? Rometty regards these as positions for which employers seek applicants with “relevant skills obtained through vocational training.” The following are examples of jobs that fit her definition, including pharmacy technicians, diagnostic medical sonographer, cloud administrator, service delivery analyst and cyber security architect.

Through the new Albert Lea Greater Education Project, students are learning about new industry careers, careers in crisis, career trends, and the types of careers available in the Albert Lea area.

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Thanks to our local businesses, the Greater Education Project is a success. We’re so grateful for the enthusiastic yes shown by individuals and businesses to help ALHS students.

We thank the 141 local businesses who gave of their time and talent to help students with our project of introducing employment options and discussing future jobs. To date 244 professionals have been involved by speaking about their careers with eighth graders in Mary Kinghagen and Connie Larson’s Pathway’s Career classes.

We appreciate the following who volunteered to share in second semester classes: Wedgwood Cove Golf Course, Becky Tennis Hanson, City of Albert Lea Fire/Waste/Engineering/ Admin/Recreation/ Water/Street /Public Relations/Library/Police Depts., Eaton Sport & Spine, Between Friends, Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, Albert Lea Tribune, Innovance, Red Door Construction, Farmland Electric, Kevin Poppel Farms, Advanced Family Dental, Dream Gardens, Freeborn County Watershed District, Indigo Financial, Flowers By Jane, Albert Lea Monuments, Ed Hubbard Insurance, Freeborn County Historical Society, District No. 241, Dave Syverson Trucking, Thermo King, Manpower, Country Inn & Suites, First Lutheran Church, Good Samaritan Society, Zumbro River Brands, Mayo Health System, Erberts and Gerberts, AmeriNational, Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, Hy-Vee, Davinci Saw, Minnesota Energy, Freeborn Mower Cooperative, Senior Resources, Martin Cycling and Fitness, intellicents, Albert Lea Seed House, United States Army Recruiter, ALAMCO, Trails TA Travel Center, Home Federal Bank, Interstate Truck, Southeast Minnesota Judicial System, Pro Trucking, KATE Radio, Holly Karsjens, Thorne Crest Senior Living Community, Bruce Haugsdal, Dave Klatt Insurance, Jim and Dude’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar, Jane Kepple Johnson, Crescendo, Motor Inn, Minnesota Corrugated Box, Bismuth Design, Innovative IT and South Central Pet Care.

Dr. Manny Steil, who created this program, also spoke inspirationally to both classes. Three cheers to all of you for taking the time to share you expertise with our future workforce. Thank you!

Additionally, the Greater Education Project paired second semester seniors in Jessica Gregory’s

Economics class with a business in one or several of their career choices. The following businesses volunteered to participate in student shadowing: Albert Lea Family Y, City of Albert Lea Attorney Lee Bjorndal, Wedgewood Cove, Mayo Health Systems, District #241, Freeborn County Shopper, Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Albert Lea Police Department, Albert Lea Electric, Albert Lea Tribune, Eaton Sport & Spine, The Marketing Plant, Ag Power, Hy-Vee, former pilot David Schultz, Between Friends, Red Door Construction, Angie Eggum Edward Jones Investments, Jones-Haugh Smith Engineers, South Central Pet Care, Freeborn Pride Builders, Sanderson Auto. Many thanks for sharing your time and skills.

During the year-long program, a total of 106 students took advantage of the shadowing opportunity to spend from one hour to one full day with a professional at his/her job site. Many students felt they wanted to continue in their chosen career, but several discovered that their intended career wasn’t what they had thought it would be or realized that it required more education than they had envisioned.

The Albert Lea Greater Education Project is thrilled students were able to make choices based on their experiences with local businesses.

Other successes of the program were having six students volunteer to work with a mentor following their successful shadow experience and having three colleges — Waldorf University, Northeast Iowa Community College and Riverland Community College partner with Albert Lea businesses to provide shadowing, mentoring, and internship opportunities in the future.

The Albert Lea Greater Education Project is a program of the Albert Lea Education Foundation. To continue this program and broaden it, we’re seeking financial support from individuals, companies and organizations. All donations are tax deductible. All volunteers and contributions are so appreciated!

Please contact us with any questions: Al Arends at 383-5685 or Jean Eaton at 393-7880.

Jean Eaton

Albert Lea Greater Education Project