Starting the Southern Minnesota Social Media Breakfast Club has brought many opportunities to Mark and I. My personal favorite is the relationships we have developed. We have tried to get to know our attendees not only professionally but personally as well. A few of them have allowed me to visit them in their place of employment to allow me to see them in action.
Valerie Kvale is a placement specialist at the Workforce Development Center located at Riverland community College in Albert Lea. She is a regular attendee at the social media breakfast and talks frequently about the job fairs she helps to organize. I asked her if I could schedule a meeting with her to learn more about what she does and to develop an understanding of what kind of jobs are available in our region both within the city and within Freeborn county. As often happens I walked out with multiple encouraging stories to tell.
The first one I want to share is about the amazing person she is and to give you a picture of the extra love and care she has put into her job. Val’s job is connect businesses in our region with workers and to connect workers with businesses.
The workforce center has a computer lap with resume software and access to the internet. They also have printers, telephones to make calls about employment and knowledgeable, caring, patient staff who skillfully walk people through this whole process. I saw first hand the care and dignity Val gives to those who are using the computer lap. While she was showing me a program on one of the computers there was a gentleman creating a resume. Val walked over as she already knew this man and made a few suggestions for him. She pointed out skills he had while working prior jobs and how he could add them to his resume. I will never forget the smile that came across his face, the way he squared his shoulders, sat a little taller and saw himself in a different light. She gave this man so much more than a skill, she gave him worth and dignity. This to me is the most important work she and her collages do at the workforce center.
It is truly her desire to connect the right employees gifts, talents and passions with the best employer. She personally contacts businesses in town to find out if they have any jobs available. Through one of the online services she uses to find jobs in our region she was able to show me not only the blue collar jobs in our area, but the white collar ones as well.
If you are someone who is looking for a job and have not had any luck, consider contacting Val. She and her staff will do their best to help you connect with the jobs you are looking for. If you are a business and have job openings contact Val and she will help you get the word out to get your positions filled. She told me about one business who brought in a ad to the workforce they had created for a position available in their company. She posted it on Workforce Facebook page and made people aware of the job opening. The position was filled without the business paying for Ad space in the newspaper or the local shopper and they saved money.
It also occurred to me to make sure I am not determining how many jobs there are in town by the newspaper or shopper. Ad space is expensive and many companies are posting their job openings online, through a hiring service or are posting them on sites such as minnesotaworks.net or monster.com. The best thing you can do is google the place you want to work and see what they have available. You may be surprised at what you find.
We live in time where we have the capability to work from anywhere we want to and make a decent wage. Val showed me a few more job posting sites she has access to and I was pleased to see the higher level corporate positions open in and around our town as well. This is an area I have heard people say “there aren’t any high paying jobs in town”.
The biggest thing I learned today was how much the leaders in our town truly do care. They want our town to thrive and they know the best way to do that is to create a place we enjoy spending our time. Combine a low cost of living, low crime rate, with over 46 parks, Myre-Big Island, two huge lakes and many smaller lakes, entrepreneurial/small business support and you have a winning community.
Thank you Valerie Kvale for creating a place of hope, connection and being a bridge of connection for our community. We are blessed to have you in Albert Lea.