Karem Salas of Austin signs up for an information packet with the help of Freddy Miranda of the University of Northern Iowa Friday morning as part of the Multicultural College Fair at Riverland Community College. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

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Published 5:00pm Saturday, December 4, 2010

When Hormel Foods Brand Manager Brett Asay spoke to students Friday, he talked about how important education was to students.

If nothing else, as he told the high school students attending a business lecture at Riverland Community College, getting a college degree ensures many more job opportunities and wages to provide for a family.

Lt. Rene Phan of the Austin Police Department talks to students during the career session on Law Enforcementt Friday during the Multicultural College Fair at Riverland Community College. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Asay’s business seminars were part of Riverland’s third annual Multicultural Fair, where more than 200 students from eight high schools across southern Minnesota learned about college and job opportunities.

“Any time I can give back to the community, it’s good,” Asay said.

Riverland’s Multicultural Fair featured a keynote speech by Elia Dimayuga Bruggeman, the director of educational services for the Northwest Suburban Integration School District. Bruggeman is currently finishing an appointment to the state Chicano Latino Affairs Council, which advises the state legislature on Hispanic issues.

Students were able to attend seminars in a variety of subjects, such as law enforcement, fine arts, business, education, technical and health careers.

They also had a chance to speak with representatives from colleges and universities from all over Minnesota, as well as Wisconsin and Iowa.

“It shows students all these people that are here for them,” said Yesenia Mendoza, a Riverland student adviser. “There’s all these people that care for them to see these opportunities.”

Many students enjoyed learning about the opportunities higher education provides. Abdi Siyad, a senior from Faribault, is interested in business, nursing and accounting. The fair was helpful for him to find out, “where (he) can go to a good college.”

Hector Guerrero, a senior at Albert Lea High School, agrees. Guerroro wants to enter Riverland’s Wind Turbine Technician program, as he heard technicians are paid well and are in demand. He enjoyed the fair too.

“I talked about what I really wanted,” Guerrero said.

It’s important for students of all backgrounds to be interested in college, according to Dani Heiny, Riverland’s director of student affairs. More than 70 percent of jobs will need some sort of post-secondary education by 2018, according to Heiny. Getting more students interested in colleges and universities will be tantamount to keeping the workforce steady.

“It truly is what we’re about here at Riverland,” Heiny said.

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  • dand4

    A very good event. It is never too early to start checking out the colleges, and there are a lot of good schools in the upper midwest……

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