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"Growing Good Gigs" Rural Voice Town Hall Event to Highlight Educating and Training a Creative Workforce

The Rural voices series will host an event called Growing Good Gigs at 7:00pm on September 21st at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.
The Rural voices series will host an event called Growing Good Gigs at 7:00pm on September 21st at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.

On Wednesday, September 19th at 7:00pm the Rural Voices series, hosted by MPR's Kerri Miller, will host an event called "Growing Good Gigs: Educating and Training a Creative Rural Workforce." The event takes place at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm and seeks to inspire conversations about the rewards and challenges of making a home in rural America. Trent Janezich, Director of Advancement and Customized Training Solutions at Minnesota North College, joined Heidi Holtan to discuss the event and what the newly-formed college contribute to the rural workforce of northeastern Minnesota. Click the "Listen" player above to hear the full conversation.

"The event tonight is for anyone concerned with rural workforce development," Janezich said. "Whether it's a new industry, manufacturing that we want to strengthen, the mining industry, anyone interested in finding talent and has a solution for that. That's what we want to elevate at this event. It's a town hall style. Anyone who shows up can talk and advocate or let everybody know something creative that you're working on."

Looking into the future, Janezich is hopeful that Minnesota North College will continue to offer solutions for workforce development in northeastern Minnesota. "While this event is at the Minnesota Discovery Center, we're hoping Minnesota North College can have more events like this. We have six campuses around rural northeastern Minnesota, and we're tapping into this kind of event."

With the new structure at what was formerly Itasca Community College, Janezich hopes to continue the good work of being an economic engine for the region. "Historically, the community and technical college has done this for 100 years," he said. "The heart of what we do remains. We are the closest to jobs and creating jobs and making sure our workforce is ready to be hired."

Janezich cited two specific ways that Minnesota North College is responsive and nimble to the needs of the region: having degree programs that are informed by industry leaders and providing just-in-time training for those already in the workforce.

One of the focus areas of the "Growing Good Gigs" event is looking forward to what workforce trends are happening in the region. Janezich points to two exciting developments. "We've been working with film and television on partnerships," he said. "The Upper Midwest Film Office is doing some expansion and training in the area, doing training for people who might be hired when a production comes to town. The Documentary "Hockeytown" is an example of that. When a production comes in, there's work that needs to be done."

Another area of focus is supporting people with an idea that needs cultivating. "A lot of entrepreneurship is also happening," Janezich said. "There's an opportunity to elevate and provide training for small businesses and entrepreneurs. there's a lot of people with good ideas and we need to be creative in how we support them."

With its six campuses around the region, Minnesota North College is in a position to do help build the next generation of creative rural workers.

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.