Alexandria Area High School has the chance to show off their programs to a big name.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken's first stop on his Advancing Career Pathways Tour is Alexandria Area High School.
The staff and students at Alexandria Area High School are happy to show off their programs.
This is the third year the new school has been open and Sen. Franken is calling it a model that can be used nationwide.
"About a month ago I applied to the U of M and I'm hoping to get into Carlson business school," said Senior Keaton Kvale, who is in the business academy. "Otherwise the liberal arts program for economics."
He hasn't decided yet, but he knows he wants to work in marketing or travel sales.
Dreams like Keaton's are just one reason Sen. Franken wants students to receive the best training so they can get hired.
"The labor that we need is high skill labor," said Sen. Franken.
His visit to Alexandria Area High School did not disappoint.
The school groups students into different academies based on their interest– almost like majors in college.
They work with local businesses and organizations to get hands on experience.
"We came up with some drivers about being flexible...being collaborative," said Principal Chad Duwenhoegger. "Technologies...we know wanted small learning communities. We wanted community partnerships. We wanted to really enhance our relationships with students."
And they aren't done exploring more options for their students either.
"That's why they are so good," explained Sen. Franken. "There is no place that gets this good by not having a culture of 'how do we improve?' 'how do we improve?' 'how do we improve?' They've already made adjustments on how they structure their day."
The programs guide students so they can narrow down what they want to do after graduation.
"I feel like it's shaped me a lot and I feel like it's been a really good experience," said Kvale. "Having those hands on experiences with businesses in the community."
And hearing that from students inspires Sen. Franken to push for these resources.
"I'm trying to bring what I see here nationally, not just to Minnesota," he said.