Community partnerships invest in future of Albert Lea

Published 8:45 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

Guest column by Jeff Halverson

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the incredible support and collaboration between our local businesses and postsecondary schools that have recently enriched the lives of our students in numerous ways. The College and Career Exploration Fair on Oct. 27 was a resounding success, thanks to the presence of 49 employers, 56 postsecondary schools, and four branches of armed services, who generously shared their insights and opportunities with our students. This event has opened doors for our young scholars, giving them a broader perspective on their potential pathways.

Jeff Halverson

We also applaud the remarkable partnerships between local manufacturers, Lou-Rich and Design Ready Controls, who on Oct. 25 hosted enlight ening tours for 251 sixth graders from Southwest Middle School. These experiences not only showcased the world of manufacturing but also ignited curiosity and career exploration in our middle school students. Additionally, multiple area employers partner with ALHS to host a student(s) through the Youth Apprenticeship course in which 12th grade students gain valuable hands-on, industry experience with an assigned mentor following the students’ completion of required safety and skill training. Furthermore, the Riverland Truck Driving Program’s visit to ALHS during a recent student lunch hour provided our students with an up-close look at their training program, introducing them to vocational paths they might not have considered otherwise.

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In addition to these endeavors, over 20 area guest speakers volunteered their time to visit our eighth-grade Pathways classroom, sharing invaluable insights into potential occupational paths and directions. We believe that these interactions will shape our students’ and our communities’ futures positively. The recent Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, which emphasized the strength of local industry and education partnerships, underscored the promising future that awaits our community as we work together to prepare our students for success. We are confident that these collaborative efforts will pay dividends for years to come, creating a brighter and more prosperous future for Albert Lea.

Albert Lea Area Schools is grateful for our area communities’ ongoing support and dedication to our students’ education and career development.

Jeff Halverson is the director of careers, technology and innovation with Albert Lea Area Schools. He is also a member of the Chamber Business Education Collaborative.