ALBERT LEA, MN – When searching for a job, one thing employers weigh very heavily is experience.
One unique program in our area is providing high school students with on the job training and it still counts toward school credits.
Did we mention they get paid?
The program caught the attention of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar who visited one participating organization earlier this week.
Lou-Rich Contract Engineering and Manufacturing is one of these work places. President and CEO Mike Larson says it’s a great thing for all involved.
“This youth apprenticeship program, what we’re able to do is bring students in here they get to spend, I think its 450 hours per year their junior and senior year both and they’re in here and they get to work in different departments within our plant,” says Larson.
Lou-Rich is catching the eye of U.S. Senator Klobuchar because manufacturing jobs are in high demand right now.
“Not only is it great for the kids, but it is good for our economy because we need more students to be going into manufacturing, these are good paying jobs we need skilled workers but it’s also fun for the employees to have some younger people in their mitts and it creates a lot of energy so I just think it’s a great example of what we need to be doing as we’re seeing increased manufacturing in our country,” says Klobuchar.
She says this is a good sign for our economy because manufacturing jobs haven’t always been in demand.
“The truth is we haven’t had this problem for a number of years because of the downturn. Suddenly our country is making things, we are exporting to all kinds of countries and business is picking up,” adds Klobuchar.
Larson is happy to help students figure out what career they want to pursue after high school comes to an end.
“We’re just trying to help these students learn about different manufacturing careers and give them the opportunity to make a choice as what they want to do in life,” he says.