Clark County youth learn about local careers
For Hub City Times
COLBY — Introducing Clark County youth to careers available to them in Clark County was the mission of the Clark County Economic Development Corporation – Workforce Council Kick Start Your Career third annual bus tour. The event, held on Oct. 12, was attended by nearly 140 high school juniors, seniors, teachers, chaperones, and Workforce team members. Seven school districts from Clark County toured eight companies and heard from five other businesses in four different communities.
Health care and emergency services were covered on tours of the Clark County Rehabilitation and Living Center in Owen and the Owen-Withee-Curtiss Fire and Emergency Services at the Curtiss Fire Hall. Fire Chief of the Owen-Withee-Curtiss Fire Department Mark Renderman and other emergency service personnel engaged the students in hands-on learning, ranging from suiting up in turnout gear to putting out fires and an introduction to law enforcement careers.
Renderman said, “It is great to see the enthusiasm, energy, and competitiveness of the group of high school students that attended. This is the type of talent we need to retain in our communities or have return to our communities following higher education.”
Manufacturing tours took place at Cummins Filtration, MEC, and OEM — all located in Neillsville — and Meyer Manufacturing, Parrett Windows, and MidCountry Homes in Dorchester. Students were able to envision the different aspects of manufacturing for metal fabrication, farm equipment, wood windows and doors, diesel- and gas-powered engines, home building, and custom components for original equipment manufacturers.
Tyler Safford of Parrett Windows stated, “The Kick Start tour program is a great opportunity for local employers, like ourselves, to attract local young talent entering the workforce in the next year or two. For the students it’s a wonderful way to introduce local juniors and seniors to manufacturing jobs right here in their communities.
“For those students who plan on entering the workforce after graduation, touring different companies in different industries will hopefully help them decide what career path they’d like to pursue. Equally important, it provides the teachers an opportunity to view real life skills being used in a manufacturing setting that they can apply back in the classroom.”
Many students also chose to participate in the agricultural tour held at the Mitch Lindner Farm in Loyal. There students learned about the history of the Lindner farm and experienced a drone demonstration regarding drone use for field work and soil sampling to apply nutrients to the field. Soil mapping, sampling maps, and harvest yield mapping were covered as well. They also learned about the latest robot technology in the milking industry.
Demonstrations on the farm were organized by Richard Halopka, crops and soils agent from Clark County University of Wisconsin Extension Office, and included demonstrations by Northside Elevator of Loyal, Tractor Central of Granton, Bob’s Dairy Supply of Dorchester, and Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire. Halopka stressed the one theme that was repeated over and over by multiple speakers, “Once you have a job in the field you like, you will be required to have continuing education.”
Following the tours, all involved were invited for lunch at the Loyal American Legion Hall and a wrap up of the day’s activities.
Sheila Nyberg, executive director of the Clark County Economic Development Corporation & Tourism Bureau, said, “We have fantastic companies here that serve local, regional, and global markets, and we want to make sure our youth and educators know what happens right here in their backyard.”