Nearly 350 sophomore high school students from eight school districts in southwestern Iowa attended a job fair at Iowa Western Community College on Thursday. The event was hosted by College Admissions and the Intermediate Network Program.
School districts included Audubon, Fremont-Mills, Logan-Magnolia, Riverside, Treynor, Tri-Center, Underwood, and Whiting.
Students could choose three sessions in 17 different subject areas, each lasting around 20 minutes. Most were held at Stuart or Dodge Hall, and one was held at Fremont Hall.
Nyssa Greer, Director of Admissions at Iowa Western, and Natalie Harris, Director of Intermediate Network, led the event and addressed students in an opening presentation and closing keynote.
Areas included health, agriculture, arts, trucking, culinary arts, dental health, education and training, information technology, law enforcement/public safety, manufacturing, math/science, social services, trades and transportation.
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Jason Tedrick, Principal Architect at Principal Financial Group, led sessions on information technology. He designs computer systems that do what the business needs them to do.
“Our people develop apps, not buildings,” he said.
He divided IT careers into three categories: development, such as writing code and integrating technology into work processes; infrastructure, such as hardware, operating systems, and network design and support; and security, including access management and environmental integrity. Broader functions include technology management and innovation, strategy and architecture.
“Technology is in almost everything we do…we don’t have enough staff to do everything,” Tedrick said. “The demand is high and the supply is low.”
Cloud computing, cybersecurity and data will be important going forward, Tedrick said. Businesses want more and more data so they can anticipate what users and/or consumers want, he said.
Other virtual reality apps are being developed due to growing interest in it, he said. Virtual reality applications can allow investigators to create an animation of a traffic accident, for example.
Web designs continue to evolve as more and more are customized for mobile devices.
“If you get into (information technology), you’re going to be a lifelong learner, because technology is constantly changing,” Tedrick said.
Ryan Lewon, recruiter for Jennie Edmundson Methodist Hospital, facilitated sessions on allied health professions.
Allied health professions include surgical technologists, respiratory therapists, x-ray technologists, physician assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, ultrasound technicians, physician assistants, athletic trainers, and related fields of work.
Jennie employs more than 400 full-time team members, 160 part-time workers and 170 doctors, Lewon said. The hospital seeks employees who are patient-centered, respectful of others, striving for excellence and willing to practice good teamwork.
“Right now we have 130 positions open, which is very high,” he said. “Usually it’s around 40.”
Some of the openings are the result of the hospital’s growth, while others have been vacated by employees who left because of the pandemic, Lewon said, although Jennie offered retention bonuses.
“I don’t think they’re going to our competitors,” he said. “I think they are leaving the field.”
Chris Blake, Director of the Trivium Life Services Center of Excellence, spoke about human services. Trivium strives to empower people with intellectual disabilities, chronic mental illness or brain damage, she said.
“We want people to be able to live their best life in their homes,” she said.
Trivium offers long-term support (not care), behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, domestic violence counseling and an employee assistance program, Blake said.
Positions include Residential Coach, Employment Services Coach, LINKS (Empowerment Day Program) Coach, Administrative Assistant, Beneficiary Specialist, Finance Specialist, Licensing Specialist, service, the storyteller and the acquisition and engagement specialist. The first three are good entry-level jobs, she said, and start at $15.50 an hour plus benefits. Trivium is currently offering a $2,000 signing bonus.