The Faribault Chamber’s Vision Task Force (VTF) built a set of priorities from the Community Vision 2040 results. The process included Chamber board input and several sessions of deliberation as to which topics would have the most impact. First on the list, Excellence in Education.

VTF and Chamber staff took a leadership role on that priority and established strategies around school safety, facility upgrades and paths to success for all students. The pathways have become a rallying call for the Chamber, industry, public schools and South Central College. Representatives from all the partners led the effort to create a career guidance position in the district and most importantly, to implement a seventh period, allowing for pathways and career exploration.

The efforts have resulted in the newly implemented program H2C (High School to College and Careers). The first pathways, in health care, are live with Industrial/Manufacturing pathways next. This is a seamless program for students to acquire the academic, technical, and workplace skills that employers need. Importantly, they are committed to ensuring students from all backgrounds are intentionally engaged with culturally and intellectually appropriate resources. Through their efforts, students can earn a high school diploma, an Industry-recognized associate degree, and gain relevant work experience in a growing field. The biggest upside – lifting Faribault families from poverty through focused education and industry participation.

H2C Pathway (as outlined by Faribault Public Schools and South Central College)

• Year one – foundational courses, students will explore Healthcare careers and what it is like to be a Healthcare professional

• Summer after year one – Healthcare Exploration with CPR – course is in development as a collaboration between FPS instructors and SCC faculty and will result in the student earning a CPR certificate

• Year two – General education courses, what students learn in year two courses is transferable and the can be applied to many Health Sciences programs as well as other SCC programs.

• Summer after year two – Students choosing the Nursing or Medical Assisting pathway will complete the application process for their program of choice. Each program offers a required orientation. Those in the Nursing pathway will take the nursing assistant course which will prepare them to take the exam to earn their Certified Nursing Assistant certification.

• Year three – Students take programmatic CORE courses during year three and if not pursuing Nursing or Medical Assisting, they will decide which Health Sciences pathway to pursue (Trained Medication Aide (TMA), Health Unit Coordinator, Phlebotomy)

• Post High School Graduation — students who attend SCC full-time will have one additional Semester needed to graduate with a Practical Nursing diploma, and Medical Assisting students need one additional year of classes to earn their AAS degree.

Vision Task Force History

In the fall of 2017, The Faribault Chamber of Commerce Board approved the formation of a committee for the purpose of advancing key priorities from the City’s Vision 2040 work. The Vision 2040 process had been largely stagnant since a large priority setting session in May 2015. The outcomes from that public meeting included over 50 projects, ideas and policies with varying degrees of public buy-in. This list was reviewed by the Chamber of Commerce Board and narrowed to 12 items valued as most important to the business community. Those 12 were reviewed, defined, debated and ranked by the newly assigned Vision Task Force. The top five priorities in order of priority are;

1. Excellence in Education

2. Housing – Modular Home Development

3. Leadership Collaboration around Economic Development

4. A Fabulous Downtown

5. Gateway/Monument Signage

I’ll give updates in the next few months on each of the priorities and describe what they mean to you – our members and what they mean for Faribault.

Thanks so much for your support. As we begin emerging from this pandemic and related restrictions please keep in mind that we’re all a bit weary and especially now your kindness to others will go a long way in finding our best “normal.”

Nort Johnson is the president of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

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