November 23, 2020

Career Navigator News is a biweekly newsletter from your Career Navigators, MaryAnne Smith and Nick Wobig.

Teachers Taking the Next Step

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is a priority for schools in the Bluff Country Collaborative. Whether your school’s work experience program is big, small, new or long-time running, students benefit greatly from being in the community, developing new skills and practicing abilities. Lewiston-Altura teacher, Joel Ellinghuysen, is currently taking courses to earn a WBL endorsement. La Crescent-Hokah teacher, Jenni Von Arx and Spring Grove teacher, Karen Tisthammer, begin the portfolio process soon for a WBL endorsement. Crystal Sobotta, Houston School Counselor, is excited to build momentum for students and enhance the work experience program.

Distance Learning Meets FutureForward 

Distance learning is a shift from what we all grew up with. However, you’re not in it alone. Let us help you and your colleagues: bring in guest speakers, find career videos, coordinate virtual job fairs or college fairs. Four of the seven schools have students exploring careers independently through FutureForward™. Three schools have given assignments on FutureForward™. Coming up in December will be lessons and videos related to careers in construction.

STEM Forward Nominations

Every year, schools can opt in to nominate outstanding teachers who embrace STEM in and out of the classroom. For those participating in STEM Forward, we encourage you to nominate a teacher (or two) for this awesome award. We celebrate the nominees and winners in January of each year. Who do you know that deserves recognition for their work in STEM education? We can support you by drafting a nomination or two.


Youth Skills Training Grant

Southeast Service Cooperative is applying for a Youth Skills Training (YST) grant in December with the goal of creating a regional approach to students getting a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) certification. With one out of three students interested in health care as a career field, focusing on a CNA pathway is an obvious first choice. Partners on this project so far include several area skilled nursing facilities, SE Tech, WDI, and two dozen high schools in the greater SE MN area. Six schools in Bluff Country Collaborative are more than eager to see certification opportunities for students. Registration opens in spring and the program begins in Fall 2021.

A Diversity of Interests

The month of November has provided great opportunities to meet new professionals as we aligned students from Spring Grove’s senior class with professionals in the career fields they are interested in. With 27 students participating, we were able to find 22 professionals to conduct mock interviews. These professionals are from nearly every career pathway, showing the diversity of interest with our students. As we continue to support our schools with more events, we are hopeful to grow that diversity even more.

Upcoming Themed Months

With the success of Manufacturing Week and the interest in a focused career pathway, we are expanding reach by offering featured pathways each month, starting with December as Construction Month. These events will be hosted on FutureForward™. If you and your class are interested in participating in these events, please contact us and we will get you signed up. 

If you are a professional interested in having your business and position highlighted in a themed month, please let us know and we will arrange a time to get more information.

Contact Your Career Navigators: 
MaryAnne Smith &
Nick Wobig
We are very excited to have things rolling and look forward to what we can achieve as a collaborative. 
Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at any time.

Thank you all, 
MaryAnne Smith: 507-251-4388
Nick Wobig: 507-273-9661
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Construction Month on FutureForward
January 2021
Communications Month on FutureForward
February 2021
Healthcare Month on FutureForward

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