By Chad Koenen
The members of the Henning EDA serve the community in a number of different capacities. In addition to overseeing the Countryview Apartments and providing gap financing for small businesses, members of the group attempt to grow the amount of businesses and jobs in the community.
One way the group is hoping to grow the existing businesses in the community is to showcase the wide variety of jobs available in Henning, especially in the trade industry.
During its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday morning, the Henning EDA invited Henning School Superintendent Melissa Sparks to discuss different options available to inform students about the wide variety of jobs available in Henning.
Sparks said there is currently a big shortage of workers in the trade industry, especially with CNA’s across the state. She said there is a grant program available through the state of Minnesota that could cover 100 percent of the cost for a student to attend a CNA class and become licensed. The school superintendent said she would like to be able to offer the class to Henning School if the school district could attain a grant and there was enough interest.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for our students. Some people may want to be a CNA for the rest of their life.”Henning School Superintendent Melissa Sparks
The CNA class could also help students attain more training in the healthcare field later in life as well.
While the Henning EDA said the program sounded promising, no decisions about proceeding with a class or grant was taken on Thursday.
Sparks also told the Henning EDA about several ideas to increase interest in trade jobs and opportunities available within the community. She shared ideas that she helped with at a previous school district that was similar to the CEO program Henning was involved in several years ago. As part of that program, students can actually spend part of their day working at jobs in the Henning and the surrounding community to learn a trade or how to complete a job.
The program lasted only one year in Henning, but Sparks said other school districts have found quite a bit of success with the program by promoting business and practical learning. She also said the community could hold a job fair to allow businesses the chance to visit with students and share what kind of jobs could be waiting for them in Henning upon graduation from college.
The Henning EDA said it will continue to look at options for promoting business growth in the community and thanked Sparks for attending the meeting.
In addition to discussing options for increasing work opportunities in the community, the Henning EDA also approved a recommendation for a revised rental agreement for Countryview Apartments. The agreement will now go to the Henning City Council for final approval.