Oh, to be 16 again!
Yes, I have those occasional, wistful looks back in time when I was more agile and physically fit for athletics and work outside. But in this instance, I’m thinking about what I may have chosen as a career if I had had the opportunity to experience an event back in the day similar to the Minnesota FFA state convention’s Career Connections.
Welding or diesel mechanics may have received serious consideration.
Career Connections was held Monday morning, April 25, during convention on the state fairgrounds in the coliseum. Sponsored by the Minnesota FFA Foundation, AgCentric, Minnesota State Agriculture Center of Excellence and the Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture, the event featured more than 65 colleges, universities, trade schools, businesses, nonprofits — all potential sources for furthering education and/or future employment in agriculture.
I had the opportunity to make my way through the concourse, talking with folks at most of the booths. Nearly all of the exhibitors had take-home information for students. Many had interactive displays, such as life-size models of a cow and a sow that were cut away to show how a calf and piglet, respectively, are born. Others had displays with social media access, allowing for selfies to share with friends. At each, FFA students in their bright blue jackets were listening and engaged with exhibitors.
It was energizing to take in all the career opportunities available to today’s students.
Not only did students have the chance to learn about careers, they also learned about possible summer jobs and paid internships open to them while in high school. For example, at Titan Machinery offers a student program called Edge that gives students a sampling of jobs to work at on-site. While they learn about potential careers, they get paid for their work during the 12-week session. At the True Friends booth, students learned about Camp Friendship and the summer job openings there.
Some exhibitors hoped to talk specifically with teachers, too, to share their “train the trainer” courses. That was of interest to Lynnes Welding, which has summer teacher training programming lined up.
Kudos to those organizers behind the scenes, as well as all exhibitors and volunteers who helped make the 2022 Career Connections a meaningful experience for all who attended.
Even a career-long ag journalist.