Employers hunt for new hires at the Career Academy Job Fair

Mike Meiresonne, COO of Dakota Supply Group, discusses his firm’s sponsorship of the Distribution, Manufacturing and Transportation Academy at the MHS Career Academy. (Photos/Nancy Hanson.)

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

A second regional corporation has stepped up its support of Moorhead High School’s Career Academy in the best possible way with a ten-year sponsorship of its Distribution, Manufacturing and Transportation career pathway.

Dakota Supply Group announced its commitment Friday at the Career Academy’s inaugural job fair. It joins the first pathway sponsor, Sanford Health, which is sponsoring the Health and Human Potential pathway. Cardinal IG has also signed on to sponsor one of the academy’s labs.

Superintendent Brandon Lunak expressed delight that a second major corporation – one with nearly 1,000 employees in eight Upper Midwest states – has invested in the Career Academy’s experiential approach to prepare young people for broad-based careers. “It’s exciting to start an innovative model for public-private partnerships and the future of our workforce,” he said. “Philanthropic support from the business community extends our reach for forward-thinking school programming and aligns the future talent pool with what business needs.”

He added, “We don’t believe students need to sit in desks to learn.”

An employee-owned wholesale distributor, DSG works with customers in the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, waterworks, utilities and communications fields.

The announcement headlined Friday’s event, which drew hundreds of high school students and a sell-out roster of 33 area businesses and organizations eager to recruit them. The recruiters represented a broad range of industries that fall within all six of the Academy’s vocational clusters, including not only those sponsored by DSG and Sanford but also information technology and design, entrepreneurship and business, the liberal arts and communications, and the farm-to-table cluster of agriculture, foods and natural resources.

A roster of recruiters were on hand to connect with future MHS graduates. They ran the gamut from A to W – from Calderon and American Crystal to Wall work Truck Center and Kwanzaa Construction. Along with DGS, Sanford and Cardinal IG, they included Eventide and Farmstead Living, Angstrom Electric,  Lunge Auto Center, Matt’s Automotive, RDO, Sunset and Precision Plumbing and Heating, the U.S. Armed Forces, the city of Moorhead and Moorhead Police Department, Moore Engineering, Pact iv Evergreen, Scheels, Butler and Titan Machinery, Case-New Holland, Ames and Comstock Construction, Fastenal, Hegenes Properties and the Ellingson Companies.

In addition to seeking partners for the four remaining career pathways – at a cost of $750,000 over ten years — community outreach coordinator Tom Dryburgh is rolling out a variety of avenues for supporting the academy’s programming. Labs can carry sponsors names, along with signage and other benefits, at a cost of $150,000. The top availability is naming rights for the academy building itself, reserved for a donor making a gift of $1,500,000.

The new Spud Partnership Program offers other opportunities at contribution levels of from $500 to $10,000. Among benefits are inclusion in future career fairs, job postings, opportunities to participate in student experiences and other forms of recognition.

“Community and business partnerships help meet our regional workforce needs,” Dryburgh pointed out. “This investment yields one of the best returns imaginable – a new generation of creative, capable and collaborative future leaders who are prepared to succeed in the changing workforce.

“It takes the support of the entire community. We are thankful that regional businesses like DSG are willing to make investments to support, encourage and mentor our students.”

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