ST. CLOUD -- Business and educational leaders were in attendance for the launch of a new community development program.

The Boys and Girls Club of Central Minnesota launched their CareerSTART program Monday morning. The locally developed program is designed to provide students in grades K-12 the employability skills needed to enter the workforce.

Jim Clark is the President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He says this program follows a national model, but is specifically designed for the needs of central Minnesota.

This is a huge need in our country today. You look at what's happening across America, there are millions of jobs employers are trying to fill and there is millions of people that would like to work but there is a mismatch when it comes to having the right skills. This is a golden opportunity.

The program is a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, St. Cloud Technical and Community College and local businesses geared around three principles -- Exploration, Development and Application -- to give students the necessary skills and confidence to prosper on the job.

Clark says the program can be a driving force that keeps future employees in our communities.

I think it provides the glue when it comes to kids in the community to get that job that may be open down the street. They see they can go to the Boys and Girls Club and go through CareerSTART, then go on to schooling and get ready for that job and be prepared.


The program is offered to all students who attend the three area Boys and Girls Clubs or Kidstop programs.

All students who go through the CareerSTART program will be eligible for a scholarship to attend St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

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