Archive for March, 2012

Minnesota technical students face off for a chance at attending national competition

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Minnesota technical students face off for a chance at attending national competition

Students from technical schools across Minnesota recently showed the world how much they have learned at the 45th Annual SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Championship Conference in Bloomington, Northland’s NewsCenter reported.

SkillsUSA is focused on helping technical students thrive and ensuring that the country has a well-trained workforce, according to the nonprofit organization’s website.

During this event, which ran from March 23 through 25, students competed with others enrolled in technical training schools throughout Minnesota for a chance to attend the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Missouri at the end of June.

Some of the students who participated in the weekend event came from Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. One group of attendees was made up of members from the school’s welding club. They used their talents to put together a chapter display they felt promoted the timber, taconite and tourism industries of Minnesota’s Iron Range region.

Billy Pocrnich, one of the students involved with the project, told the news source they pretty much had free reign in terms of how they chose to represent their chapter at the conference.

"We are given a set of instructions that we are supposed to follow," Pocrnich said. "A certain height, a certain width, a certain depth. We can come up with any kind of idea that we want to represent our chapter up here."

The National Leadership and Skills Conference will run from June 25 through 27 and is expected to bring out more than 15,000 participants, according to SkillsUSA’s website.

When you were enrolled in technical schools, did you ever compete in any type of national or state competitions? If so, tell us about your experiences in the comment space below.

Think like a small business owner and join Facebook

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Think like a small business owner and join Facebook

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit and are hoping to launch your own business using the skills you gain in technical schools, you may want to follow the example set by many of today’s small business owners and log into Facebook.

Not only are a number of the nation’s small businesses using social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to grow their brands, but they plan to increase their activity on these platforms, according to the results of a recent Citibank survey.

Of the 749 small business owners who responded to the survey, 65% see more marketing activities as the key to connecting with customers and bringing in new business. About 41% of these professionals have used social media websites in the last year and another 40% plan to use them even more in the year ahead.

"Today, the web is the first place consumers go for information on products and services," said Tracey Weber, Citi’s managing director, internet and mobile for North America Consumer Banking. "The perception is that these channels are expensive and time-consuming, but the reality is there are simple ways to reach current and prospective customers online."

Maybe you’re currently looking at photography schools that can prepare you for a career as a freelance photographer. Well, one of the best ways to reach clients in this day and age may be through Facebook and Twitter posts. Having a presence on these platforms will allow fellow social media users to click a link that can direct them to your official website, where they’ll find examples of your work.

How do you find out about new businesses these days? Facebook? Twitter? The phonebook? Let us know in the comment space below.

Stop regretting and take action

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Stop regretting and take action

Whether you’re out of your 20s, married or have a few kids, there may be days when you feel like you’re too old to enroll in technical schools or switch careers. While this is far from the truth, it’s certainly OK to doubt yourself from time to time. After all, you’re only human. Maybe a change in perspective will give you the motivation you need to achieve your goals.

Sure, being young is pretty cool. You’ve got less responsibilities, more energy and you face a future full of options. However, when was the last time you actually talked to one of these young people? You may find they’re not terribly different than you.

Check out a recent Huffington Post College article by author Daniel Gulati. The writer recently surveyed 100 people between the ages of 25 and 35 to find out if they had any regrets at their young age. Turns out they have a lot.

As is to be expected, the regrets varied. Some spoke of their desire to have traveled more when they were younger, while others wished they had paid more attention to physical fitness in their youth. You may share these two regrets, but Gulati shared a few others that you may find especially interesting.

A big regret among the people Gulati talked to was the fact that they hadn't done something useful with their life. Many view themselves as being stuck in corporate jobs or living a very superficial existence. Ultimately, these individuals lacked a purpose and felt they were not doing something useful for others.

Are you in the same boat? Maybe you have a job that no longer brings you pleasure, or you see no opportunities for advancement. Either way, it’s never too late for a change. Sure, it’ll require some hard work and a lot of effort on your part, but you can definitely enroll in technical training schools and take steps toward a career you actually care about.

You can even become a role model for some of those younger adults who told Gulati they wanted to do something that helped others. Time spent in medical technical schools and massage therapy classes can each prepare you for jobs that remind you of the difference you make each and every day.

Gulati also found that people wish they hadn’t wasted so much time in their younger years. Maybe you have moments where you have the same thoughts. Well, stop being down about the past. Unless you have a time machine, simply focus on the future and take steps toward achieving what you want in life.

While you’re learning about those who are younger than you, consider taking a tip from people who are older than you too. In a recent CNN article, author and professor Karl A. Pillemer shared some advice the elderly had for today’s youth. One tip they had was to stop worrying, as it solves nothing and wastes your time.

With these different views on life from both the young and old, maybe you’ll be able to silence all those pesky thoughts and take action.

Did you have your doubts about changing careers? If so, tell us how you overcame them in the comment space below.

Having trouble finding work? Employers get it

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Having trouble finding work? Employers get it

It’s no secret the economy has seen better days. Sure, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that unemployment has dropped in recent months, but with a rate still hovering at 8.3 percent, things could be better. You know it, the president knows it and many employers definitely know it.

In fact, according to the results of a recent CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 employers, the people making hiring decisions these days understand why there may be some gaps on your resume.

This is great news if your job was a casualty of the recession, or if you’re on a break from the job search to take classes at technical schools. After all, a resume that shows somebody has taken long breaks in between jobs is often viewed as evidence that the person is lazy or can’t hold a job. However, this is no longer the case.

"While job seekers have voiced concern over how they may be perceived if they've been out of work for a while or took a job for which they were overqualified to make ends meet, the study shows employers understand the tough challenges the economy has created for workers," said Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s vice president of human resources.

Haefner highlighted BLS data which says more than 5 million American workers have been unemployed for at least six months, if not longer. Is each and every one of them lazy? Of course not. Does this mean they should just put up their feet and wait for the economy to turn around? No way.

"What is most important to employers is that workers show they have stayed active in sharpening their skills," Haefner said.

Based on the responses CareerBuilder received from participating employers, 61% feel that jobseekers should take a class to make themselves more marketable candidates. Technical training schools provide an opportunity to take some courses and pick up and a new set of skills in a short period of time. In many cases, the fields that you prepare for in these academic settings are thriving in the current economy.

Going back to school isn’t all these employers recommended. About 60% of them suggested volunteering, while 11% think starting a professional blog would be a good route to go. No matter what you end up doing, you’re showing employers that you’re not just sitting on your couch waiting for fate to turn things around.

So if you’re taking small engine repair training or massage therapy classes, think about what else you could be doing on the side. Maybe you could volunteer at your child’s school. Not only do you get to spend more time with your son or daughter, but you’re also doing something productive with your spare time.

Did you lose your job during the recession? If so, what did you do to keep busy while searching for your next position? Let is know in the comment space below.

Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes technical training school

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes technical training school

Throughout the United States, students are making a difference in their communities. Whether they're feeding the homeless, building urban gardens or volunteering at animal shelters, people are getting off the couch and changing neighborhoods for the better. Students at the Lake Area Tech Institute in Watertown, South Dakota were honored by President Obama and the Corporation for National and Community Service for taking a break from their technology coursework to help their neighborhood.

More than 1,500 students at the Lake Area technical training school served a total of almost 20,000 hours in various community service projects throughout the Watertown area. As the only two-year college that made the final list, vice president of the school Mike Cartney told The Associated Press that Lake Area Tech was very humbled to receive the honor.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll included almost 650 institutions across the nation. Tech students participated in projects like feeding the hungry and rebuilding windmills at the local Joy Ranch. Using their skills from welding training, students were able to reconstruct an old windmill that had fallen into a local farmer's cornfield.

Community service is engrained into Lake Area Tech students from their very first day because the school offers certificates like Human Services Technician so that students can pursue a career in changing lives. Your future career could be as a preschool teacher, social work assistant or community outreach worker.

How do you use your skills to help the community? Have you ever fed the homeless or helped elderly neighbors with their groceries? We'd love to hear your stories.

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