FD Area Career Day set for Wednesday

An important part of the high school experience is helping young people gain some of the knowledge and skills that will enable them to succeed as adults. Sorting through the wide array of career possibilities is part of the process.

With that in mind, three area high schools, Iowa Central Community College and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance have partnered to hold a Career Day Wednesday. Students in grades nine through 12 from Fort Dodge Senior High, St. Edmond High School and Prairie Valley High School will take part in a carefully crafted exploration of career options. The Career Day will be held at Fort Dodge Senior High from 8:25 to 11:45 a.m. Parents are welcome to participate.

“This event is going to be an excellent opportunity for students and parents to learn about the careers that are available,” said Dave Keane, Fort Dodge Senior High principal. “The opportunities available to today’s students are different from 10, five, even two years ago. We want to provide the students a chance to hear about the many career paths they have to choose from.”

The Career Day will feature nearly 150 speakers. More than 50 businesses and other organizations will have representatives present to share their perspectives with those in attendance.

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 1,800 students will take part in the Career Day.

The event will include panel discussions on an array of topics including job seeking, employer expectations and skill development. There will also be a college fair.

Students will be able to learn more about a large number of possible career pathways.

Shelly Blunk, director of Economic Development and Industrial Training at Iowa Central Community College chairs the Workforce Committee of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. She helped plan the Career Day.

She said this event is important to both the students and area employers.

“The goal is to educate students about the career opportunities that exist,” Blunk said. “To expose them so that they can make an educated decision about which career pathway they want follow.”

For area employers it is a chance to acquaint young people with exciting career choices that exist right in their own backyard. Blunk said there is significant demand locally for high-quality workers.

While the economy is still sluggish in many parts of the United States, employment numbers for Iowa and Webster County are much more positive. In November 2013 the unemployment rate for the U.S. was 7 percent. In Iowa it was a much lower 4.4 percent. In Webster County the November unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.

“We want people to stay local,” Blunk said. “And have the message that you can go to school and go out and find a great job right here in Fort Dodge or the surrounding areas. … It’s important for continued community growth for the students and parents to understand their options and what is available to them after high school.”