Welcome to our NEXT School Year – Upcoming Events


Minnesota North College-Hibbing Campus Tech Career Day

Friday, September 30th 10:00am-1:20pm.
Open to students in grades 10-12.

Includes tours/hands-on presentations of college technical programs, information about liberal arts options, a free lunch, and t-shirts for all who attend.
Email to register.



2022 Iron Range STEM Showcase

Friday October 7th

Over 50 hands-on demonstration’s and activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.



Iron Range Construction Career Night

Monday October 17th 5:30-7:00

Career Focused event for any one to learn about the trades through hands on activities, and talking to business professionals. More info here.



Save the Date for Manufacturing Tours

As part of National Manufacturing Month, IASC NEXT Career Pathways is planning for student tours either October 27th or 28th at local manufacturing sites. Details coming soon.


Welcome to our NEXT School Year – Student/Teacher Spotlight


IASC NEXT Career Pathways Teacher Spotlight

Anna Francisco, Class Act teacher for MN North College, and Program Coordinator for The College of St. Scholastica, has been involved in the IASC NEXT Education Career Pathway since the spring of 2019. The Education Pathway fits seamlessly with the Class Act Program at MN North College—Itasca Campus, and the newly formed K-6 Elementary Education program through the The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Through the Education Pathway, local students have the opportunity to begin preparing for their teaching career in local high schools and continuing and completing their degree while remaining in the area.

Anna hopes to continue to grow and strengthen the program in the coming years for the benefit of IASC students, schools and communities, “We are committed to growing our future teachers in our local communities!”

IASC NEXT Career Pathways Student Spotlight

Ryan Happy began his Education Career Pathway as a senior at the Grand Rapids High School in the Spring of 2019. A school counselor encouraged him to check out the Introduction to Teaching course as part of the IASC NEXT Education Career Pathway. As a high school senior, Ryan was able to go back to his old elementary school in Grand Rapids and complete his field experience. In Ryan’s words he “hasn’t looked back since”!

After graduating from high school, Ryan enrolled in the Class Act Program to continue his pursuit of an elementary teaching degree, and he smoothly transitioned into the program. Ryan is now a senior and looking forward to competing his degree from St. Scholastica on the MN North College—Itasca Campus.

Ryan says that his dream would be to find a teaching job in one of the IASC schools and said, “I couldn’t imagine going into a classroom next year without the teaching experiences I’ve been able to complete while in the Education Pathway. It is very important to be happy in your job, and this program has set me up for that.”


Welcome to our NEXT School Year – Networking Opportunity


True North Stars Perkins is hosting a one day “CTE Boot Camp” training to support teachers in adding or obtaining a CTE Careers License in construction, manufacturing, transportation, communication technology, or business.

October 11th or 19th from 9:00-3:00, location TBD in Hibbing.

This is a 1 day prerequisite course that will then be followed up with individualized action plan provided to teachers by a hired consultant who will work one-on-one to determine the additional work needed in their path to become licensed.

Contact Perkins Director or 218-322-2460 with questions. An email will also be send out mid-September with more information.

Career Pathway Meetings

  • 9/12- Deer River High School
  • 9/14- Bigfork High School
  • 9/19- Floodwood High School
  • 9/21- Grand Rapids High School
  • 9/22-IASC NEXT Business Pathway
  • 9/23- Greenway High School
  • 9/28- Hill City High School
  • 9/29- IASC NEXT Counseling
  • 10/3-Nashwauk-Keewatin High School
  • 10/6-Construction and Manufacturing
  • 10/7- Minnesota North College
  • 10/10-Northland High School
  • 10/11- Robert J Elkington Middle School
  • 10/13- Education Pathway

Work-Based Learning Conversation 3:00-4:00 pm on September 1


IASC NEXT Career Pathways provides quality work-based learning experiences in seven career pathways for students in eight Itasca Area School Collaborative communities. These opportunities depend on strong, positive relationships with our business and community partners.

We are excited to invite you to participate with us in our upcoming Business Partners’ Work-Based Learning Conversation! Please join us on Thursday, September 1st, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. at the Timberlake Lodge and Hotel in Grand Rapids for an informative, interactive, and intimate session led by the National Center for Career and College Transitions (NC3T). We will review the importance of Work-Based Learning and discuss how you are such an integral component to the success of our students and Next Career Pathways.

Please find the agenda for our session attached to this email, and please respond to the calendar invitation sent in a separate email.

Please contact me at 218-256-5576 if you have any questions. You can find more information about NEXT Career Pathways at our website:

We hope you will join us, and we look forward to seeing you there!


Click here to learn more





July 20-23, July 26-30

Explore engineering and science concepts used by engineers.

  • Gain hands-on experience through a variety of projects and investigations.
  • Gain a broad understanding of the engineering profession.
  • Discover what skills it takes to become a successful engineer.
  • Work in ICC’s Engineering Center and Labs
  • Enjoy time with campers who share your same interests.




The Manufacturing Internship provides students the opportunity to earn while they learn. Working four days per week at a local business, under the supervision of a qualified mentor, and attending a work seminar class one day per week completing projects like OSHA 10 Certification prepares them for a career in manufacturing. Congratulations to our Manufacturing Internship students!

Alex Danley | Hunter Hron
Samuel Maddy | Mathias Neumayer
Cameron Olson | Xander Steinberg
Blake Colwell | Brody Erickson
Myles Nagler | Jazlynn Svaleson
Gaige Waldovogel | Justice Rebrovich

We would to like to thank our business partners for providing these hands-on learning opportunities for our students. Manufacturing Pathway students interned with:



Teaching is hard work, and just because you go to school does not mean you can teach. Our Education internship students were able to experience class activities from the other side of the lesson. Congratulations to our Education Internship students!

Alanna Mallum
Hannah Anderson
Anna Hansen
Daniel Olson
Lily Kirkpatrick

Education Pathway students were placed for their internship at the following local schools:


Greenway Middle School Nashwauk-Keewatin Middle and High School Keewatin Elementary School



We are very excited about the internship opportunities for NEXT Career Pathways Students! Joa

Gabaldi (Keewatin) and Pat Kittock (Greenway) have worked diligently with students and businesses to create opportunities for hands-on experiences.

In The News


Skelly is new IASC Executive Director

Excerpt from the Herald-Review

Jackie Skelly, the current Director of Special Education for the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (IASC) will soon be adding a new role as the first-ever, full-time IASC Executive Director.

“I am excited about working with districts, area leaders, community partners, business and other stakeholders to maximize the opportunities we have in IASC.”

You can read the whole article in the Herald review!



Our Business Career Pathway students worked with a variety of businesses learning real-world skills while they earned wages and high school credit. Opportunities in Business are wide and varied, but the Business Career Pathway internship has set a strong foundation for students to build on. Congratulations to our Business Internship students!

Summer Holm-Foss
Logan Mather

Thank you to our business partners for hosting interns this last spring!


And a special thanks to the local area banking and accounting firms that hosted students for short term job shadowing.


Career Pathways at Deer River is all ‘hands-on’

By Emily Carlson Herald-Review May 8, 2022

Deer River Schools agriculture education teacher Hannah Eckblad leads a wide range of classes included in the Career Pathways program.

Continuing the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (IASC) Next Career Pathways series, we will highlight individual schools and communities. For this final installment, we will turn our focus to the community of Deer River. Student Tia Schultz; Agriculture Education Teacher Hannah Eckblad; and Amber Kongsjord with RK Construction and Llyod’s Landscaping shared their perspective on being a part of the Career Pathways program.

Eckblad began her teaching career officially during the 2019-20 school year at Deer River. However, her passion for teaching began long before that.

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I could talk,” Eckblad shared. “So when I got into high school I got involved with FFA, and because of those hands-on experiences and being able to see opportunities beyond school, I really wanted to give that to kids. So naturally I just slid into agricultural education after that.”

Eckblad also worked as a camp counselor after high school. She worked at a Bible camp in Wisconsin and at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. This was another chance for her to see how well-suited she would be for a career in teaching.

“Working with kids and giving them the different hands- on opportunities at camp and seeing their faces light up when they learned stuff, I knew that I was on the right career path. And there’s no doubt in my mind that this is where I want to be for the rest of my life.”

Falling under the Natural Resources and Agriculture Pathways, Eckblad teaches a wide range of classes at Deer River. Topics include wildlife, forestry, food science, plants, animals, and more. Eckblad also leads the Deer River FFA chapter and was able to take students to the State FFA Convention for the first time this year.

Eckblad had an interesting start to her teaching career as the world shut down and schools moved to distance learning in her first year of teaching. This continued into her second year of teaching with distance and hybrid learning models. Finally, this current school year has brought some sense of normalcy back into her classrooms and with that comes more excitement from her students.

“Being able to see kids get excited again because last year it was hard to do anything. No matter what it was,” Eckblad said.

A great example of this was when Eckblad’s students came to her with the idea to start a Conduct of Chapters team, which falls under the Parliamentary competition branch of the FFA. Eckblad, who was an avid participant in Parliamentary Procedure as a high school student, was willing and able to support those students.

With the last two school years being altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasis on the Career Pathways program had to take a back seat. However, Eckblad shared that students do pay attention to what Career Pathways are and what classes are needed to fulfill a particular pathway when choosing their classes.

“They do read them, they do pay attention and there are kids who want to have that little check that they went through the career pathway,” Eckblad said.

Hand-on experiences are a key pillar to the Career Pathways program. Eckblad works with her students to choose a work-based learning project that will connect to their career interests. Some students get part-time jobs, some do job shadowing, and one student even started their own landscaping company. The main focus of these is to help the students test out new things.

“Seeing them find interest in things that they didn’t know they had interest in is super fun,” said Eckblad.

Looking toward the future, Eckblad is excited for the upcoming FFA Banquet where students will be recognized for their accomplishments. As for next year, she is looking forward to having a new hydroponic growing system, where plants can grow in just water and a nutrient system, ready for her classes to learn from. Eckblad hopes that the collaboration aspect of Career Pathways will continue to develop in the future as well.

“One of my favorite parts of Career Pathways is that collaboration piece,” Eckblad said. She continued, “If we team up with local schools and do what we do well, and pass some students around so students can experience what they are interested in, it’s going to increase opportunities for students and that’s our ultimate goal.”

Tenth grader Tia Schultz has taken classes in both the Healthcare and Education pathways. Being able to learn about different careers that she is interested in has already helped narrow down what she might do in the future.

“Before I was really set on going to be a nurse or a doctor, and I think that now it’s not something I want to do,” Schultz said.

As a part of the Education Pathway classes Schultz has taken, students select a teacher to be their mentor to job shadow. She chose her mom, Kari Schultz, who is a special education teacher at Deer River schools. Tia shared that she was able to work with students in her mom’s classroom, and even though the class is over, she still enjoys going to her mom’s classroom everyday.

“I don’t think I would have ever thought that I wanted to go into something like teaching or special education before, but now I love it,” Tia said.

Tia also mentioned that she really enjoyed learning from her teacher ​​Sondra Tokarczyk, Instructional Coach and Education Careers Exploration Instructor. In her Education pathway classes she has learned more about the details of becoming a teacher, what the job entails, how much schooling is needed, and more. Beyond that she has done job shadowing, independent research and other activities. Tia said that being able to work with people in-person, rather than distance learning has been nice.

“That was actually really nice, getting to know some of the other people and interacting with them,” Tia said.

This summer Tia plans on working as a cabin cleaner and coaching for the Grand Rapids Special Olympics softball team. Although she still has a couple years left of high school, she believes that the experience of trying a Career Pathways has helped her find new interests.

“I really liked the Career pathways class that we had to do. Just because you don’t really know. You don’t really have any experience. You kind of have a general idea of what you want to do in high school, but if you don’t have any way to test out those things and get out,” Tia commented. “I think this gives you a better grasp of what you want to do.”

Amber and Llyod Kongsjord own RK Construction and Llyod’s Landscaping based out of Marcell, and their children attend Deer River schools. Additionally, both do a lot of coaching for the Deer River FFA team and specifically work with the Nursery and Landscaping teams once a week.

“The kids that were in the nursery and landscaping team, they’ve come and they’ve worked for us,” Amber shared. “They’ve come to get to experience it hands on.”

While the hands-on experience for students is beneficial, it can be tough for businesses to take time out of their schedule to work with the students.

“It’s an interesting place where we work because it’s very seasonal. You have to make your income in such a short amount of time, but sometimes you just have to slow down and reach out to the younger generation and teach them,” said Amber. “I think that’s the hardest thing for businesses to stop and do.”

However, Amber added that they continue to learn alongside the students when working with them. She also sees the benefits of giving students the chance to try something new.

“It’s about being able to get kids experience,” Amber said. “You need these experiences and I think that’s the biggest key for any career path. Without the experience it’s really hard to be able to know if you’re going to enjoy that.”

Whether or not the student finds their dream career while working through Career Pathways, there will certainly be something they can take away from the experience.

“The kids that are learning this, they get to keep it forever,” Amber stated. “It’s a pretty cool reward to give our passion to some young kids and maybe make it their passion. I think that’s the biggest thing that we get out of it.”