Your Future

North Iowa Students Get Hands-On Career Experiences

Real careers. Real employers. Real possibilities. Area high school students got hands-on help realizing their future careers are totally attainable.

Industrial Simulator Day at NIACC gave tomorrow’s employees the opportunity to see what today’s jobs look like. Melinda McGregor, Director of NIACC’s Emerging Workforce Solutions, explains the networking that works. “We think it’s a great way for students to get hands-on opportunities to learn about these industrial careers and really to give them the opportunities to connect with employers who are in the field and learn about what is here and available in North Iowa.”

The younger workforce hopefuls can see available jobs and talk one-on-one with company representatives. Clear Lake freshman Charlie Larson took advantage of the experience. “We went to the panel and we talked to two people about what you needed for certain jobs and what they expected from you. And then we went and toured the campus to see what classes they offered.”

Connecting young people with businesses across the area takes a little work. But once it’s all organized, the event showcases the possibilities that await after graduation.

Cathy Spotts is with the Mason City Alternative High School. She appreciates the effort that goes into even the smallest details. “NIACC always does a great job of trying to figure out what the schools need. What is it that our students need. And they do a nice job of finding out what businesses need in the communities and then explaining, you know, that you kids are in a great position right now to just jump into a trade and make good money and with hardly any training or any experience.”

The idea of a four year college can be daunting; not just finding the right one, but affording higher education. The Industrial Simulator Day brought a sense of relief to those in attendance. Gavin Rosie, freshman, says, “I think that a lot of these stations are helpful in real life cause it shows you how to do basic things. And now there’s big things that could help you figure out your career in the future and figure out what you’re doing.”

“It surprised me that all these careers only take one or two years to finish. I think that’s really nice and interesting,” said Weston Conway, a junior at Clear Lake High School.

NIACC President Steve Schulz enjoys seeing the lightbulb moments for the students. “This is a great event for our local high school kids and anybody who’s interested in the trades and jobs of the future,” Schulz emphasizes. “It’s just fun to really see them light up and learn that there’s more to this than what you may have thought.”

McGregor agrees. “There are a lot of careers available here and we want students to see that they don’t have to go away to school to make a good wage. And we have employers here that are willing to work with us, work with the students, and provide these opportunities. All we have to do is make those connections happen.”

From simulators that give the students a hands-on moment with a potential career field to asking questions of panelists, the young people know that this experience is one they won’t take for granted. Jonas Hollemback is a junior at West Hancock. For him, the day confirmed what he already knew. “I’ve always been into the industry of what I want to pursue since I was little. And learning about how to become a better truck driver made me wanna go more into it.”

At the end of the day, it’s about discovering there’s an entire world of opportunity potentially right in these young peoples’ back yards..

North Iowa Area Community College, founded in 1918, is a nationally-recognized, two-year college located in central North Iowa.  With approximately 3,000 career and transfer students, the College has been recognized by the Aspen Institute as a leading community college in the nation.  NIACC welcomes students from across Iowa, Minnesota, the nation, and the world. The College has served as a leader in student-centered learning, community engagement, and collaborative leadership for more than 100 years. Are you ready to become a Trojan? Apply Today at

North Iowa Students Get Hands-On Career Experiences
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