Guest column: The goal of building strong communities — one industry and one business at a time

Published 8:45 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

By Shari Jenson and Valerie Kvale

Those of us fortunate enough to live here know that Albert Lea-Freeborn County is a fabulous place to live, work, relax and enjoy life. We have well-maintained neighborhoods, large and small businesses, countless recreational locations, events and activities to participate in, year-round.

Shari Jenson

We are also fortunate to have a strong and active Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce with 10 committees committed to building a strong work and life-balanced community. All these committees have a common goal — to make Albert Lea and Freeborn County a better place to work and live. We strive to educate the community on the great businesses/industries and career opportunities that are right here in our backyard.

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The Chamber’s Business Education Collaborative (CBEC) is one of those chamber committees. The CBEC has a mission statement of “improving the quality of life in our community between businesses and education through collaborative partnerships.” Our CBEC goals are the following: 1) Continuing to develop collaboration with educational entities in Freeborn County with school-to-work and career exploration events and initiatives. 2) Coordinating educational programming for and with area businesses and 3) Informing, educating and promoting local businesses and communities about developing collaborations.

Valerie Kvale

Over the next few months, the CBEC will be sharing information with readers that will include the career fields within our community, future trends within these industries and information about education, wages and growth within these fields.

It is our goal to increase awareness on the amazing career fields and careers right here in our county. We hope to educate the readers on what types of skills and education is needed for those career types in hopes of helping local employers fill vacant positions and strengthening our local workforce. 

Shari Jenson is executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. Valerie Kvale, of Workforce Development Inc., is the Chamber Business Education Committee chairwoman.