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Published December 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Area students try on trades

Career expo introduces freshmen to occupational opportunities
All smiles behind the controls of a Case mini excavator, 14-year-old Samuel Germolus scooped a palm-size basketball off a traffic cone, moved it a few feet, and then dumped it into a 5-gallon bucket.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

All smiles behind the controls of a Case mini excavator, 14-year-old Samuel Germolus scooped a palm-size basketball off a traffic cone, moved it a few feet, and then dumped it into a 5-gallon bucket.

“That was awesome,” Germolus said after his turn. “It’s harder than it looked because the controls are really tricky.”

The excavator was one hands-on display Thursday at the eighth annual Health, Tech and Trades Career Expo at the Fargodome.

More than 2,500 area high school students – mostly ninth-graders – attended the expo, which featured about 75 professions available in the Red River Valley, most requiring no more than two years of higher education or job training.

“These are the careers that are needed in our state right now,” said Penny Aipperspach, expo co-chairwoman.

Aipperspach, a counselor for West Fargo schools, said emphasis is often put on area university programs and athletics. This expo shows students they can pursue lucrative careers with a two-year degree and gives them a chance to try these potential trades.

Several local technical colleges were among Thursday’s exhibitors. The mini excavator display belonged to Minnesota State Community and Technology College’s diesel mechanics department.

Germolus, a freshman in Hawley, Minn., said he was especially interested in displays in the construction and agriculture fields. He thought the expo would help him decide on one of those career paths.

Sunil Basnet, an 18-year-old West Fargo student, tried his hand at using a jigsaw to cut a small Christmas tree from a sheet of wood. He was excited about the expo because his home country of Nepal, from which he emigrated in 2009, doesn’t have these sorts of industries or opportunities. He said he’s most interested in car mechanics or construction.

Students could also try welding, handling a drill, and operating a crane, lifting Santa in and out of a chimney. Representatives from a hairdressing school applied bright pink dye to students’ hair. Sanford Health demonstrated respiratory therapies and radiologic technologies.

West Fargo freshman Courtney Fetzer, 15, pointed out a tumor on a brain scan. Fetzer said she came to the expo to learn more about nursing, her decided career.

She also got some hands-on practice Thursday. “It’s a lot harder to get an IV through the arm than it looks,” she said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

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