Members of the Mentor Connection Class of 2020 gathered at the Great Lakes Aquarium on the evening of October 8 for the program’s kickoff event.
For Year Four, NORTHFORCE has paired over 40 college students with local business leaders for a year of one-on-one mentorship and professional development. Like last year, the program brings together students from The College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College, the University of Minnesota Duluth, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Between now and graduation in April 2020, mentors will offer career-specific guidance while introducing their mentees to the Twin Ports business community.
The program accepts applications from professionals from all fields and students of all majors. However, participating students must express a desire to stay in the #NorthByChoice region of Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin after graduation.
“Mentor Connection is dedicated to helping students who are North By Choice become immersed here, beyond their college campuses, so our region feels like home,” said NORTHFORCE Twin Ports Strategy & Development Consultant and Director of Mentor Connection Krissy Johnson. “With unemployment at a historic low, Mentor Connection is another effort made by NORTHFORCE to retain talent in the Northland.”
This year’s participating mentors and students belong to a cross section of fields and skilled trades that are in high-demand regionally, ranging from healthcare and IT to finance, marketing, and more areas. Alumni from previous years have gone on to accept jobs and internships with local organizations.
According to one alum, the program “helped me realize how many working professionals in the area are actively interested in preparing and assisting future professionals and colleagues.”
“I have my mentor as a reference and it played a significant role in helping me land my first job out of college,” shared another alum.
The second Mentor Connection event will take place in mid-November and explore topics related to personal branding and developing an elevator pitch. Together, these first two events build toward the program’s third event, which will plunge participants straight into the Twin Ports business community at the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday party in December.
Businesses can still sponsor this year’s remaining Mentor Connection events. Beyond getting an exclusive opportunity to connect with and potentially recruit these top students, partner organizations receive a booth space for the Graduation Job Fair at the program’s final event in April, plus a wide range of further benefits.