Almost a dozen businesses have signed up to take part in the program which offers students the opportunity for jobs

A new On the Job Training program implemented by the Sleepy Eye Economic Develop Authority (EDA) allows high school juniors and seniors a chance to explore local job fields before they leave town for higher education.

More than that, it is a chance for students to see that there is a workforce available to them in their hometown after college.

The program is set up to offer upper classman from the local schools an opportunity to interview for and work at local businesses for high school credits.

The idea, Kramer said, is to show students that there are jobs available to students in their hometown after they graduate from college. For some, it’s a way to have them explore potential careers before they go to college.

Currently, the program is set to begin the second semester of school for both Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary’s where about 10 students have shown interest in taking part in the program.

The idea began when Kramer attended a conference and learned that this type of program was running successfully in Alexandria. There the middle school, high school and technical schools partner with businesses that allow tours and eventually employment.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, several students came to the Sleepy Eye Community Center for interviews with participating businesses.

In the program, students will learn how to interview for jobs, take part in the interview process and go on to potentially be hired for the position they interviewed for while receiving high school credits. According to Kramer, businesses have considered extending hours to students who have secured a job through the interview processes for paid hours of work.

“It’s so new we want to take it slow,” Kramer said. “By next summer our hope is that we can expand and add additional businesses and accommodate more students who may be interested.” 

The purpose of this program, Kramer said, is to give students the opportunity to have a job and also provide a workforce to the businesses in town.

“The trend seems to be that students are moving away. This is opportunity for them to see there is a lot of opportunity to pursue and potentially return to Sleepy Eye for employment after higher education training,” Kramer said.

For now, Kramer said, the program is only open to juniors and seniors. Eventually, he said, he would like to see this program work down to the middle schools for younger students to have the ability to tour local businesses and gain an interest.