Local businesses charge into Spartan Arena


Students spent fifth and sixth hours in the Spartan Arena, visiting the stations set up by the local businesses on Mar. 29, 2023.

By Lily Holmquist, Reporter

Over 20 businesses in the health and human services field have attended the final career fair of the year. Transition coordinator, Shawna Anderson, is the one in charge of leading the career fairs. This means getting businesses invited, space reserved, and students signed up to attend. Anderson states that nearly 300 students were signed up to attend. 

This career fair had the largest turn-out of students, evident by the long lines at each of the booths of students waiting to participate in the activities at each of them. 

One booth, run by Northwood Technical College, gave students the chance to try their hand at how to draw blood with differently sized veins, vein depths, as well as baby veins. This activity left many students walking away with a small tube of fake blood, extracted themselves, which the representative running the booth described as “bragging rights”. 

Due to the size of the businesses participating in this career fair, a section of the parking lot was reserved for them. This was something that made Anderson very happy.

“I’m very excited to give them a place to park, because we want those people to come back next year,” Anderson said. 

Providing a guaranteed space for these representatives to park is a very important thing to Anderson, as she says it’s a way of ensuring these people not only will, but want to come back. These career fairs are important for the students, as it gives them a chance to broaden their horizon regarding job opportunities and interests


Anderson is the only person that really coordinates these career fairs by communicating with businesses. Another important job of hers is sending out emails to gauge interest of the students, and exposing them to new types of jobs in the community. 

Because of her position in arranging these career fairs, she has a great interest in getting the attention of jobs who plan to be hiring soon. Doing this helps to ensure that these students can have a job, and teaches them that you don’t need a four-year program to have a good job.

“The goal is to have students see anything in high demand, and who will still be hiring in the next 10, 15, maybe 20 years. There’s a lot of people retiring, and not enough young people to fill those jobs,” Anderson said. 

The major goal of Anderson is to provide these students with the best chance of getting a job, right out of high school. Some businesses that participated in the career fair even offer jobs while a student is in high school. 

One way Anderson’s job has been made slightly easier is the coordination of work between her and project coordinator, Caitlin Knoll. Support from other staff, principals, and janitorial staff have made these kinds of events possible. Tables getting set up, student outreach, and overall spaces being reserved have ensured the events go smoothly. 

Four career fairs have happened this school year: transportation and logistics, construction and trades, manufacturing, and health and human services. Combined, there have been over 90 local businesses participating. Many of the businesses at the career fair, such as the Douglas County Jail and Correctional Department, offer positions to people 18 and older, with just a high school diploma. 

Although this last fair was larger than the previous three, Anderson still wants more businesses to participate. This would give students the best opportunity to explore the careers they want to go into. She also wants students to understand that a four-year or two-year college degree is not always required, and that students may attend a trade school, or go straight into some fields with just a highschool diploma. 

In the end, Anderson’s main goal has always been providing new opportunities for students, and helping them to find what they want to do after high school.