Education and Workforce

Chamber Fair Booth

The Fairmont area’s economy is very diverse. As a result, Fairmont continues to attract the high quality workers. Fairmont supports many innovative and aggressive local programs to recruit workers to the region.

Of course, many of Fairmont’s most valuable workers come from the area’s own vast medical system.

Chamber-led workforce initiatives include programming targeted to young professionals, support of public education and higher education, educational seminars for HR professionals, and worker attraction and retention.


  • ACE – Area Career Exploration (ACE Website)
    • The mission of ACE is to raise career awareness and the job opportunities for area students so they are knowledgeable of the opportunities awaiting them in our area when they finish their education. ACE is an annual event and is held on the 2nd Wednesday in April at the Fairmont Junior/Senior High School. Over 100 businesses and 650 sophomores from 12 area schools representing surrounding counties participated. All students and businesses were given an ACE Resource Guide. Students attended a game show that was geared around job search, job applications, appropriate dress for interviews, and the impact of social media.
    • Students, counselors, colleges, and businesses were all surveyed at the conclusion of the event. All felt the event        accomplished its objective of career awareness and indicated they would return again next year.
    • By making students aware of rewarding career opportunities in our region we are hoping to have them return or stay upon completion of their education. Too often they are not aware that the career they are pursuing is available locally. ACE is an important component in ensuring our future workforce for rural Minnesota.
  • Leadership Martin County
    Leadership Martin County is a community leadership program developed by the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce and Riverland Community College Training and Development Division.  Financial support provided by FEDA, Ignite, Mayo Clinic Health System – Fairmont, and Rosens, Inc.The purpose is to develop leaders and volunteers who will have the knowledge and understanding of our county….its complexities and its potential. Participants become better informed of community issues, better connected to community leaders, and better prepared to take on an enhanced role in the community decision-making process. Professional leadership training is a key part of the programming.Click here to find out more about Leadership Martin County.
  • Agriculture Educational Partnership
    Agriculture Education Partnership was established in 2011 and helped implement and sustain a comprehensive agricultural education program in Fairmont High School that will broaden student’s education and leadership skills about agriculture in our community and world.

Fairmont High School hasn’t offered an agriculture education program since 1986 and with Martin County being known as a leader in the production of hogs, soy beans, and corn in addition to being the home of many agricultural related businesses; these businesses saw the need for this program and decided to help the school by funding it.

  • Junior Achievement
    For the past 17 years students in Fairmont have participated in the Junior Achievement program. The Junior Achievement program is offered in both our public and private schools, for students in Kindergarten to sixth grade. Junior Achievement materials also serve as the basis for the high school economics class. Junior Achievement has proven to be engaging and fun while stressing the importance of an education.Each grade will experience a different program. Kindergarten’s program is called “Ourselves”, it explains personal economics through a collection of short stories read aloud by the volunteer. First graders learn about “Our Families”, this program emphasized the role people play in the local economy, as well as, how they work together to make the place they live a good place. “Our Community” is the section that the second graders explore. It looks at the interdependent roles of workers in a community and how communities work. Third graders will study “Our City”. They look at career studies, and the skills people need to work in those careers, and how businesses contribute to a city. The fourth graders are introduced to the relationships between the natural, human, and capital resources found in different regions and explore regional businesses that produce goods and services for consumers in “Our Region”. The fifth graders will examine “Our Nation” on how businesses operate in the United States and explores various economic issues that impact business. The sixth graders will focus on “Global Marketplace” and learn about imports and exports, the role foreign exchange, and how countries are interdependent.For the future of our community, it is vitally important for businesses to work with the schools so our children are aware of the opportunities in Fairmont in virtually any occupation they may be interested in. Junior Achievement is proving to be an ideal way to start this process.
  • Scholarships (CLICK HERE to apply)

    • Agri-Business Scholarship
      Graduating seniors of Martin County high schools planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in agriculture or an area of study that services agriculture, such as finance, veterinary medicine, insurance, bio-science, or marketing are encouraged to apply for $8,400 in scholarships.  In partnership with the Agriculture Future of America (AFA), the Agri-Business Committee of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce is offering up to two $4,200 scholarships, which includes registration for the fall AFA Leaders Conference. The Agri-Business Committee will determine the number of scholarships based on the number of qualified applicants.

    • Ambassadors Scholarship
      The Ambassador Committee of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce is offering a $1,000 scholarship to a Martin County student in a business related field entering their Junior or Senior post secondary year in a four year college or their final year in a technical college.  The scholarship will be awarded after a review of grades to confirm achievement of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.


  • Business Training Facilities
    There are a number of business training and business facilitation services available within the Fairmont area. Business planning, entrepreneurial services, marketing assistance, accounting assistance and how to start a business are provided by:

    • Small Business Development Center
      Mike Hahn, Regional Director
      Minnesota State University, Mankato
      120 Alumni Foundation Center
      Mankato, MN 56001
      Phone: 507-389-8875

    • Regional Center for Entrepreneurial Facilitation
      Bryan Stading, Facilitator
      Northwestern Office Buidling
      209 S. 2nd Street, Suite 311
      Mankato, MN 56001
      Phone: 507-386-7285

    • SoMN SourceLink
      Mari Brown
      111 South Broadway, Suite 332
      Rochester, MN 55904
      Phone: 855-264-7914

These services are generally free. However, special classes or ongoing technical assistance may have a charge. The City of Fairmont provides financial assistance to the SBDC and the County provides funding assistance to RCEF. In most cases, these entities will come to Fairmont to provide an initial meeting and ongoing technical assistance.

  • Government and Non-Profit Agencies
    • Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development
      Office of Business Development
      Kevin McKinnon, Director
      1st National Bank Building
      332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200
      St. Paul, MN 55101
      Phone: 800-657-3858

    • Workforce Center
      Business Services Specialist
      412 S. State Street
      Fairmont, MN 56031
      Phone: 507-235-5518

    • Southwest Regional Office – Mankato
      Lisa Hughes, Economic Development Program Specialist
      209 S 2nd Street
      Mankato, MN 56001
      Phone: 507-389-6779
      [email protected]

    • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
      Resource Management and Development
      Robert Sip, Principle Planner
      625 Robert Street North
      St. Paul, MN 55155
      Phone: 320-255-2428
      [email protected]

    • AURI/Agricultural Utilization Research Institute
      Ag Innovations
      Max E. Norris
      Southwest State University
      Science & Technology Building 107
      Marshall, MN 56258

    • Southern Minnesota Initiatives Foundation
      Business Programs
      Pam Bishop
      525 Florence Avenue
      P.O. Box 695
      Owatonna, MN 55060
      Phone: 507-455-3215

    • Region Nine Development Commission
      Community & Economic Development Director
      410 Jackson Street
      P.O. Box 3367
      Mankato, MN 56002
      Phone: 507-389-8875

    • Martin & Faribault County Public Health Sanitarian
      Tim P. Langer, RS
      115 West 1st Street
      Fairmont, MN 56031
      Phone: 507-238-4757
      [email protected]