Students and community attend Baraga’s KBOCC career fair

According to organizers, the fair is unique in two ways.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:35 PM EDT
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BARAGA, Mich. (WLUC) - Originally starting in 2018, the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) career fair has been unavailable since 2020 due to the pandemic.

That is, until Thursday.

Starting at 10 a.m., community members and students from as far as Lake Linden attended to see what potential careers were available in the area.

According to organizers, the fair is unique in two ways.

“We’re between the two big counties, so this is a great opportunity for a lot of people that are more rural,” said KBOCC Librarian and Career Fair Organizer Joe Bouchard. “Also, I’m conducting mock job interviews. This is somewhat new, and I don’t think all job fairs do this, but let’s say you wished to speak to someone, one of the vendors, or one of the companies. Well, you can get a free practice job interview to get your feet wet.”

Vendors at the fair included the U.S Forest Service, Bay View Village and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Fire and Emergency Management.

There were also businesses like L’Anse Manufacturing Inc.

The manufacturer’s Head of Operations Phil Knapp said that while people in the area are eager to leave, they are just as eager to eventually come home.

And when they do, they’ll need a job.

“People want to come home, they want to come back,” said Knapp. “I didn’t grow up in this community. I was planted here after my dad retired from the air force, so I landed in L’Anse when I was about 17 years old, and once I’d seen enough of the rest of the country, I definitely wanted to stick around.”

Some students in the area said they plan to give back to the community by pursuing careers that match their interests and using them in the area.

This includes Logan Desrochers, a Baraga Area Schools senior.

“I would like to major in biochemistry and microbiology,” said Desrochers. “So, I’m kinda looking for a career that would be good to serve our area in the ways of health benefits and protecting us from sickness.”

Organizers said that the fair will return to its annual schedule and will be back next year in March.