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Housing camp gives students a different perspective

ana anthony/Daily Globe Duane Hattendorf, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership's project manager, talks to students about civil engineering technology.

WORTHINGTON -- For the third consecutive year, several organizations have pooled resources together to organize a Housing Career Camp for high school students.

This year's camp kicked off Monday for 28 students in the Nobles County area. Students toured a local bank and learned about various career opportunities within the banking industry.

"It feels more open than to sit and learn about stuff," said incoming sophomore Rachel Van Dyke about the bank tour. "It's better to visit."

The camp is a result of a grant and a collaboration between the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership and Minnesota State University, Mankato.

"It was designed to address the unique needs of immigrant and refugee populations that have relocated here," explained Ethan Bates, community coordinator for Achieve Homeownership program, of the initial objective of the camp.

Participants gathered Tuesday morning for a civil engineering technology presentation by Duane Hattendorf, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership staff member.

Hattendorf spoke about the requirements of being a civil engineering technician. A two-year degree is necessary, along with solid math ability and other skills.

"Anything that is related to public use pretty much has civil engineering involved," he explained.

The three-day program aims to provide additional exposure to a life beyond high school.

Apart from housing-related fields, students learned about financial literacy and college preparation.

Susu Pyo, incoming senior at Worthington High School, said she learned about different options of paying for college.

"They also helped me understand what kind of classes I have to take," she added.

"We found that a lot of the youths that have relocated to these rural areas, Greater Minnesota areas, don't have a lot exposure to role models from their demographics that suggest to them that they can, as first generation Americans, also be successful in the new society," Bates said.

Today, as the camp comes to an end, students will tour Minnesota State University, Mankato, to explore post secondary options.