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A Note from Nort

Your Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has had a productive last twelve months even with the uncertainties related to the 2020 Pandemic.  As I think about some of the most impactful activities and the results of those efforts, I’m reminded how much Vision and Intentionality have to do with progress.


The fall of 2019 held big hopes for the Chamber Board and Vision Task Force as the 7-period day referendum became a number 1 shared priority with Faribault Public Schools.  We learned how important this issue was to help build foundations upon which more of our students could build success. Here’s why.


Faribault Public Schools would be able to give more to high school students - 8 full elective classes to be exact.  Creating these class offerings could launch students on career paths as early as 9th and 10th grade in Health and Industrial Sciences.  Paths that include a diploma, certificates and/or Associates degrees at South Central College and built-in mentorships at local businesses.  Imagine - students who may not otherwise consider post-secondary schooling could get a firm start while still in high school.  The training for good paying, steady local jobs would impact student success, our school’s success and help maintain and build the Faribault economy.


Last November the referendum passed.


In November and December teams including Faribault Public Schools, South Central College and Faribault Industries.  That’s right, for the new Health Science Pathways in Technology our education partners brought in Allina, Mayo, Northfield Hospitals/Clinic, Richie Eye Clinic, Monarch and others to learn what the needs of the industry are right now and design classes to meet those needs.  For example, Medical Terminology is available for students to start their journey in Health Sciences. What a great idea and what an awesome partnership being built.


In January students had a total of twenty-seven new class options to choose from for the 2020/21 school year.  Yes, twenty-seven. 


Here is my personal disclaimer; I was the least education-credentialed individual in the room at pretty much every meeting we attended or organized.  To be fair I was not very qualified to add to the technical side of the Health Sciences Pathways discussion either.  Fortunately, I was and am able to bring to the table the passionate love for this community our Chamber has along with a healthy dose of pragmatism.  Also, coffee – I’m qualified to do that.


So, the 7-period day has been a big deal and continues to be as Pathways in Industrial Sciences are being established now.  Other work for us has included compiling one of the most comprehensive COVID Resource pages in the state, establishing and rolling out a new membership program, modifying and executing many of our events to fit temporary restrictions and establishing new business protocols.


There are more projects and more Visionary work in the planning from your Chamber.  We like it that way.  So rather than try to squeeze more into this column about our work I think it’s important to share that we are not immune to COVID.  Like so many of our Members and Partners this pandemic and the regulatory reactions to mitigate its effect have hurt us financially.  We’re okay but made tough decisions to be okay.  Many of our partners fared worse, and some better but we prefer to consider ourselves blessed and supported.  Our gratitude to this community will continue to be reflected in our Visionary Intentionality while working to support Faribault business and our people.


Nort Johnson

President / CEO

Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

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