Monday, May 20, 2024

Helping students find direction

| February 23, 2024 1:06 AM

RATHDRUM — The Rathdrum Chamber of Commerce is opening new doors for young adults.

Executive Director Ashley Cameron said there is a gap in certain areas of the local economy. In an effort to close that gap, the chamber will host a strategic employment fair called "Opportunity Knocks."

Scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. March 13 at Timberlake High School, the event will connect high schoolers with local businesses.  

Cameron said with the partnership between the chamber and Lakeland School District, this event fits the needs of both parties.

Opportunity Knocks will connect high schoolers with prospective employers that hire workers without a college education.

"Over the past several years, many of our local businesses have struggled with adding and retaining adequate staffing," Cameron said. "This can potentially put our younger local population to work in our local economy."

Business representatives will be on site to talk to students interested in jumping into the workforce after graduation. 

"We are seeing more and more graduates wanting to go straight into the workforce rather than pursuing a higher education right away," Administrative Assistant Ariel Reed said. "This is creating a demographic that still wants to work and develop skillsets without accruing the costs of a college education."

Reed said they will also connect students with companies that require some technical skills because those employers will potentially provide training and classes.

While the chamber sees value in higher education, Reed said college is not for everybody, so the chamber wants to help that demographic.

The chamber has had an internship program for four years, Reed said, but has only placed one intern per year over that time.  They hope this may inspire some local companies to offer internships.

Cameron said that will change with Opportunity Knocks.

"The students gain real world work experience while the company gets some much needed help," she said.