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Business Education Network (BEN)

                                                           Cindy Battleson                                      
                                                                   AIS Planning
What is the purpose of the Business Education Network Committee?
The Business Education Network committee seeks to resolve current and future workforce shortage issues by providing educational opportunities and guidance for students and teachers, thus increasing the level of skill in the local employee pool. Members provide ideas and create opportunities to put businesses in front of students and place students and teachers in the workplace.
BEN committees are an initiative of the Minnesota Chamber. While the ‘BEN’ name is not always used to identify these committees, many chambers in Minnesota have started their versions of this group

Who are the volunteers that help plan BEN programs?
BEN committees MUST consist of business and education representation, according to Minnesota Chamber guidelines, in order to receive funding through MN Chamber.

Business Representation
Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning, Chair
Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction
Carlo Schwinn, Starrett Tru-Stone Technologies Division
Joe Kalkman, CentraCare Health
Scott Christman, D.C.I.
Mike Hentges, W. Gohman Construction
Education Representation
Leah Sams, Director of Career and Technology Education, St. Cloud School District 742
Karl Nohner, Principal, Sauk Rapids Rice High School
Nicole Wilke, Sauk Rapids Rice Community Education
Mike Mendez, Dean for Skilled Trades and Industry, SCTCC
What programs does BEN coordinate?
In the year our BEN committee has been working (created October 2018) we have coordinated 6 high school student internships and one high school teacher internship. We also coordinated interactive business-in-school booths, to expose students to local employers. These events were held in Tech, Apollo and Sauk Rapids High Schools in 2019.

When are your meetings and how can someone get involved? 
  • Meetings are not currently on a regular schedule, due to the nature and timing of our current programs.
  • if interested in learning how to work on BEN programs with the committee, contact Jason Hallonquist, or Chamber staff Gail Ivers.