Deer River Kids Starting Career Pathways


Building a workforce has never been brighter in Itasca County. The Itasca Area Schools Career Pathways Program continues to expand. Deer River students got a chance to learn about four different pathways on Wednesday. There was a promo day for all Deer River kids.

Instructors and guest speakers shared more about what careers are out there in education, the trades, healthcare and agriculture. They used fun games and demonstrations to keep the kids interested during 20 minute sessions.

One former Deer River grad, Steve Kongsjord, was a guest speaker. He works for RK Construction out of Marcell. “It’s really fun to tell people you can get a job anywhere, and be successful,” he said. “These kids are going to be steps ahead, when it comes to getting those jobs.”

Sophomore Austin Mundt signed up for a class in the trades pathway. “There’s so much opportunity out there, and you don’t need to have a lot of student loans, and you can make a lot of money,” he said.

Even for seniors like Ally Rivas, the promo day gave her a sense of what’s out there. “I’m still having a hard time figuring out what I want to do. But I was interested in the healthcare one.”

School counselor Tanis Henderson said, “We are going to get students more connected, with more hands-on experience in the industries before they even get out of school.”

Classes start in the fall.

Pathways is in 8 different Itasca Area schools now. Support from industry partners and organizations like the Blandin Foundation has been key to the growth.