Stories bring us together. This month, I would like to share some stories from recent events.
At a Reverse Job Fair wrap-up meeting Post Falls Principal, Chris Sensel shared a story about one of his students. Chris explained that junior students take an ASVAB assessment in the spring before senior year and they get the results when they return in the fall. One particular student received his scores and wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do but chose firefighting as his senior project for the Reverse Job Fair. That student job shadowed with the Northern Lakes Fire Chief and then on the day of the Reverse Job Fair, a KCFR Firefighter and the KCFR Fire Chief, Chris Way.
Now this young man knows what he wants to do without a shadow of doubt. The Reverse Job Fair gives away a good deal of money, thanks to the generosity of our members, but the biggest impact is the process the kids go through exploring career options and pathways. Sometimes they find the perfect fit and sometimes they learn that they want something completely different. The collaboration between the Post Falls School District and the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce changes lives for these kids.
The next story is from the Hard Hats Hammers and Hot Dogs event held in partnership with KTEC and PTEC. This was my first year seeing the event happen, and I served as a “tour guide” for a group of students from Post Falls High School, Kellogg High School and New Vision. Our first stop at the Parker Technical Education Center was a presentation from PTEC students ages 17 and 19 that work with 3-D digital printers and are currently employed making nearly $50 an hour. As our students moved to the next stop, I heard them saying “Could you imagine what I could do if I made $50 an hour?”
Students lined up excited to take a shot at welding and then when we hit the auto body shop, they were thrilled to see a student preparing to shoot paint on a speedy looking sedan. When we got outside and they saw all of the heavy equipment, they were literally running from station to station and could not believe they really got to operate this stuff.
I noticed a group of girls who were unsure what to do. There was this machine that you operate with a remote control and it stamps down dirt and no one was at that station, I asked one young lady “Do you like video games,” she said “yeah,” so I took her over to the machine and then each one of her friends tried it with big smiles. Another student came up to me and shared about his experience with the CDA Paving booth. He said, “I wasn’t sure about laying concrete bricks but oddly, I thoroughly enjoyed it and could see myself doing that as a career.” The exposure and experiences that H4 provides for these kids is incredible! They only know what they see in there circle of influence and this broadens their exposure.
We held the first CEO Speaker Series of the year with the new Buck Knives CEO, Lane Tobiassen. Lane shared his personal story which was something he had never done before. The preparation for the talk forced him to reflect and appreciate the successes and failures that brought him to where he is now. Members from entry level to CEO’s attended and the conversations carried on long after the official end time with discussions of workforce development and housing. It was a truly great event.
Our Lunch and Learn this month, brought to you by Orgill, included KTEC and Knudtsen Chevrolet on the topic, “Learn how to leverage a partnership with KTEC to grow your workforce.” The presentation was fantastic and the dialogue that happened after was fruitful. Those that attended wanted to learn more about how they could partner with KTEC. One group, NUCA asked “How can we help you grow your programs out there? Specifically underground programs.” Colby shared that the school has 10 acres to expand but they can only expand one of two ways; the three school districts have to run a joint levy for the expansion or fundraising for private money. The NUCA representative said, “We can help with raising and giving money.” The dialogue continued among the participants again well beyond the scheduled time and it appears that the attendees are willing and motivated to help expand the incredible resource that KTEC is.
My final story is one that happened at the Coffee Connections with Theresa Whitlock of Matt’s Place Foundation. Theresa had the task of educating us on what ALS is. She shared that a patient is diagnosed with ALS every 90 minutes. She shared the financial and emotional burdens that come with an ALS diagnosis and how devastating it is to a family. As we went around the room of attendees, three of them had either lost or known someone who suffered from ALS. Those that didn’t sat in awe of the work that Theresa and her foundation are doing. Theresa apologized for speaking of depressing information but not one person in that room left feeling depressed. The way that Theresa took the blessings they received with Matt’s diagnosis and dove into to helping others who did not have the same help was nothing short of enlightening. The Matt’s Place Foundation is making a huge impact on the quality of life in the world of ALS and it was an honor to hear her story.
I share these stories because our team is focused on creating educational ways for our members to engage and grow while making a positive impact on the community and these experiences are incredibly rewarding. If you want to be a part of moments like this, contact the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce.
Our future opportunities include:
• Coffee Connections, Wednesday, May 25 with Mark Leeper from Disability Action NW speaking on “How to market your business to people with disabilities and why that’s important.”
• The 30th Annual Greater Post Falls Golf Tournament, Friday, June 10 at the Links Golf Club — 1 p.m. shotgun start.
• River City Market and Music, Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m., July 13 to Aug. 17. Vendor and sponsor opportunities are available.
Everyone has a story to tell, what will be yours?
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Christina Petit is the president/CEO for the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce.