Career Pathways enters third year of programming

Via Grand Rapids Herald Review

IASC Career Pathways is entering its third academic year of programming with a number of major developments. Two advisory committee meetings were held in October for the topics of Manufacturing and Healthcare. The program has also received significant grant money to continue its work.

According to a press release from IASC Career Pathways, the program “exists to provide experiential opportunities for students to explore career options that lead to high quality employment in northeastern minnesota. The program partners high schools to increase opportunities for student course offerings through telepresence and allowing students to travel between districts to participate in programming.”

Claire Peterlin is the program coordinator of IASC Career Pathways. The program began in 2017 after receiving a grant from IRRRB. This grant helped to fund the development of the IASC Healthcare and Manufacturing Career Pathway in Grand Rapids High School, Greenway High School, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School and Itasca Community College.

In September 2019, Career Pathways was awarded a grant from the Blandin Foundation for the amount of $500,000. The grant is to help expand the work being done in the four original schools, as well as expand to Bigfork, Hill City, Northland Remer, Deer River and Floodwood. Additionally, the grant will assist in the addition of new pathways at the schools for students to learn more about. These new programs will include Natural Resources and Agriculture, Business, Construction, Computer Science and Education.

“A lot of the teachers radiate with joy and passion when they talk about their programs and are so humble when talking to businesses about their needs,” Peterlin remarked. “I really feel like they listen and then take that information and utilize in their classrooms. This is a game changer for all of us, I think!”

Each quarter, industry advisory committees meet for tours of schools and businesses, shared design activities and to work on continuing to bring new members to the meetings. In October, the two advisory committees for the Manufacturing and Healthcare pathways met.

“Attendees participated in an interactive design discussion centered on ‘Profile of a Pathway Graduate’ where they discussed what they hope students experience during their high school Career Pathway years and what skills they will graduate with as a result of their pathway,” Peterlin said.

Additionally, the manufacturing advisory committee was able to tour the GRHS Tech Center. Instructors from the high school discussed the courses they teach, along with some of the successes and challenges they face. Business members were able to give ideas on how to improve and enhance current programming.

“I believe we have started a new trend/pilot program that the entire state of Minn. could stand behind and really support. It feels good to be a part of a team that wants to thrive and see good things happen for all involved,” said Kelly Hertling, HR Supervisor at L&M Radiator and Member of the IASC Manufacturing Career Pathway.

Mindy Nuhring, Executive Director of River Grand Senior Living and m ember of the IASC Healthcare Career Pathway Advisory Committee commented, “I chose to attend the advisory committee meeting because I believe that we need to come up with a better way to guide young people into jobs/careers and I believe the Career Pathways program is a way to achieve this goal. I would encourage community members to be involved because the more community involvement, the better the program will be.”

The next advisory committee meetings will be held in January. Advisory Committees for the new pathways are in development. If you would like to be included in these meetings, please contact Claire Peterlin at or 218-290-0126.