Professional Exploration Experience Pilot Project

The College of St. Scholastica’s School of Business & Technology and Career Services departments partnered with NORTHFORCE for a pilot project to give leading students a glimpse into the local business world as part of Community Day on October 4.

Professional Exploration Experience allowed ambitious students to participate in immersive tours at companies around the Twin Ports. The goal: expose students to jobs and companies in an effort to retain students after graduation.

Twenty-five students signed up for this one-day pilot program and participating organizations included Giant Voices, Aimclear, ALLETE, and AMSOIL. Open to those majoring in Accounting, Finance, Computer Information Systems, Management, Organizational Behavior, and Marketing, the program showcased local employers while also guiding students toward potential careers and occupations.

Each participating site conducted a two- to three-hour tour. Employers shared their company values, discussed their organizational structure, and highlighted the role their company plays in the greater community.

Each organization also addressed the skills and experiences students need in order to be considered for future job or internship openings within these companies.

“I enjoyed the open format, allowing us to sit one-on-one with students to talk about our jobs, as well as speak with them about their interests and how they may align with different types of positions, both within and external to our company,” said Cameron Fitzwater, IT Programmer Analyst/Application Developer with ALLETE. “NORTHFORCE is able to partner with students to help provide our company with qualified candidates.”

Students likewise appreciated the opportunity to connect with local businesses. “I haven’t had an opportunity before to see a marketing firm in action,” said CSS student Fanya Knee. “It was very helpful to me to see an area where my degree could be used. It gave ideas as to what my future could be.”

“I have been uncertain to what I want to do after college, but after yesterday, I realized that companies like Giant Voices will teach you what to do,” noted another CSS student.

“Ultimately, this pilot project is another effort to retain young professionals within the area,” said Kayla Dietzmann, Project Manager at NORTHFORCE and Professional Exploration Experience project lead. “It also highlights our outstanding local employers and provides students with a great experience-based learning opportunity. We are so thankful to have such great community partners within our business community and at CSS.”

One hundred percent of students and employers reported they would like to participate in another Professional Exploration Experience and NORTHFORCE plans to make that happen. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Kayla Dietzmann at

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