Engaging Speakers Series Introduces RMCEP Programs to High School Students

10 May 2024

For more than 50 years the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program (RMCEP) has provided free career training and development resources to adults and youth. In Spring 2024, RMCEP partnered with motivational speaker Ben Rudrud to spread the message about its free programs and grants across 15 schools, reaching 3,425 students.

“We were looking for innovative ways to advertise programs beyond newspaper ads and radio promotions,” says Samantha Froelich, Team Leader at RMCEP Little Falls. “We knew what our mission was and our message, but needed somebody to convey it in a new and exciting way.”

With the help of a grant for youth outreach, RMCEP developed a presentation with Rudrud and brought him on a tour of local high schools. In just a few short days, he made 17 presentations across the region.  

Rudrud Highlighted RMCEP Programs While Preparing Students for Their Careers 

While the main goal of these presentations was to highlight the career and college readiness programs at RMCEP, Rudrud covered eight key topics to entertain students while providing advice for their future careers. He talked about the importance of developing soft skills like communication along with social media’s impact on employment. Other discussion points covered career planning, being resourceful, and taking steps now to prepare for the future.

“I don't know how he did it, but every student was fully engaged,” says Froelich. “You could have heard a pin drop when he was talking.” 
Rudrud also tied these discussion points to stories about his personal life. This built connections with students and made his messages memorable.  

RMCEP Engaged Local Businesses in These Presentations 

While Rudrud’s presentations did an excellent job of exciting audiences for their future careers, RMCEP created opportunities for the students to take action immediately. In the weeks leading up to these engagements, RMCEP reached out to local businesses to see if they would sponsor the events. Many provided giveaways like beach balls, custom t-shirts, popcorn, stress balls, and other items for the students. Along with these donations, the business owners attended internal job fairs that occurred the same day of the presentation during the students’ lunch hours.  

“We are trying to build tomorrow’s workforce and emphasize soft skills development,” says Froelich. “Employers really grasped onto our goal and wanted to participate in these events.”

Along with attending the presentation by Rudrud, students had the opportunity to meet with potential employers at the career fair. This helped them understand what skills the companies were looking for and how the students could make their resumes stand out.

“For many years, students felt they needed to leave the area to start their careers,” says Froelich. “That’s just not the case anymore.”

Faculty Also Attended and Can Recommend RMCEP to Students

These presentations weren't just for the benefit of students. More than 235 faculty attended the events to learn about RMCEP’s programs. The teachers, administrative staff, school board members, and even superintendents who listened to Rudrud will be able to recommend RMCEP resources long after this generation of students graduates.  

“We have already seen some success from our presentations,” says Froelich. “We are getting more calls and messages from students and their families wanting to learn about our services.”

Take the Next Steps With RMCEP

If you missed these presentations, you can still take advantage of the free resources offered by RMCEP. Get to know our youth services programs and see how students can receive funding for their educations, including college courses.