History of Career Exploration Day

The Career Exploration Day was the first project of the Bridges program and since its inception, the concept has remained the same — connect students with business and college programs and allow them to explore potential career opportunities.

The Career Exploration Day was launched in 2007 with the first event at Cragun's Resort's Event Center. 57 businesses participated, and the next year, the event was moved to the Brainerd Civic Center. Over the next few years, the event grew substantially, and Central Lakes College offered their Brainerd campus as the event's location. This is where it has resided since.

CLC's Brainerd campus offers classrooms and labs specific to many careers, so the location was very logical.

The event has traditionally been held in early March, typically right before many schools go on spring break. Students are bused from their high schools to the CLC campus where they are free to roam and explore individually. Lunch is provided, then, students are transported back to their home schools.

High school students are asked to complete a survey about their experience at the Career Exploration Day. Usually this is done during their bus ride home — while the event is still fresh in their minds.

Fast Facts (typical annual figures)

  • Students: 9th - 12 grade are invited!  Typically 2,000- 2,800 students attend.
  • Transportation: 57 busses and 2 vans of students
  • Food: 3,000+ hamburgers, 480 donuts are ordered and 4,000 bottles of water
  • Volunteers: More than 7,000+ volunteer hours are put into this event every year
    • More than 300 CLC and MSTATE faculty and business representatives — from doctors and nurses to bankers and machinist
    • 16 working industry/clusters (each with one or 2 chairs)
    • 3 working committees (each with a chair)
    • CLC Security oversees the event and utilizes:
      • 40 CLC Criminal Justices security students
      • 10 + CLC Security staff
      • 3 paid Brainerd Police Officers
      • Volunteer nurses for emergencies
    • An emergency evacuation plan is in place in case of emergency.
  • VIPs: More than 750 VIPs have participated in tours and VIP luncheon over the last 11 years.