Exploring Careers at the Met Council & Best Buy

November 22, 2017 , Suzy Piper

Thank you Matt Roen, Career Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters, for giving us a wonderful overview of the first-ever daytime job shadows!

Over the MEA break, BBBS hosted its first daytime job shadow experiences with the Metropolitan Council, and Best Buy. The days were packed with tours, presentations, individualized conversations, and sage advice from a whole host of proffesionals: water scientists, transit security officers, merchant buyers, and more!

On Thursday morning, our group of 6 included two brothers: Blake and Cain, both matched Littles in the BBBSGTC program. Avid track runners, and involved in several extracurricular programs, Blake and Cain were excited to see what all the Met Council had to offer, and learn more about the organization. What we saw, did not disappoint! We were picked-up by a private MetroTransit bus, and taken to the Met Council’s Mississippi River plant in south St. Paul. There, we learned about the origin and history of the plant: first opened in 1938 to process wastewater for both Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the first wastewater treatment plant located in a major city on the Mississippi River.

Today’s upgraded plant is among the largest in the U.S. (from https://metrocouncil.org/About-Us/Facts/Wastewater-WaterF/FACTS-Wastewater.aspx ) “The Metro Plant processes approximately 70% of the total wastewater collected and treated by the MCES system. The 67 communities and more than 550 permitted industries served by the Metro Plant produce average wastewater flows of 175 mgd.”

From there, we took a driving tour of the wastewater plant, stopping-off where the effluent (clean water) is discharged into the Mississippi River, to take samples, and readings. Blake and Cain operated sampling devices, and gadgets to assess the river’s temperature, PH, salinity, and more, before we headed back to the plant’s main lab! Here, we learned about how bacteria and microorganisms help Met Council scientists break down waste, and measure toxicity levels in the water. Cain used an electronic pipettor to add a color-changing compound to tap water, testing for chlorine, while our effluent samples were added to the lab’s extensive data tracking system.

To close-out the day, we heard from a panel of Metro Transit employees, who shared their personal stories, and insight with the students, talked about the equity and inclusion work that the Council is involved in, demoed a gear vest, and answered questions about work with the Metropolitan Council.

As we boarded the bus back to BBBS, Blake and Cain checked with Mom, and asked if they’d be able to attend tomorrow’s job shadow day as well, even though they hadn’t previously registered. Day 1 had been so much fun, they were excited for more!

On Friday, a group of 9 students (Blake and Cain included!) all met at Best Buy’s Corporate Headquarters in Richfield, and were treated to Caribou Coffee beverages, at one of the TWO Caribous on campus (One of which, is actually the busiest and highest-earning Caribou Coffee location in the state!)!

We took a tour of the “hub” – the central area linking the three Best Buy towers together, where employees could visit private employees-only stores, coffee shops (Caribou), a gym, cafeteria, daycare, print shop, post office, and more! While we were visiting, many Best Buy employees were helping prepare special events for Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, including a market, and dance performance, for their fellow employees.

The energy was high (not just because of the coffee) – and we were treated to some really awesome presentations (about in-house commercial production, and how attitude can positively affect your success). The day was marked by a quote of Theodore Roosevelt’s: “Don’t let others define who you are. Believe you can and you’re half way there.”

All around Best Buy, there were signs and room titles based off of different strengths – demonstrating that everyone has a skill to share, and can add value to world. During lunch (where Blake and Cain enjoyed several Jimmy Johns sandwiches), we had a chance to hang-out with members of the Major Appliances team, with whom we spent the rest of the afternoon, visiting their individual work-spaces, and hearing from each team member about their professional path, and role at Best Buy.

At the end of the day, Cain couldn’t wait to start working as a lawyer for the company, and Blake’s awesome questions brought out some great stories from the team. Thanks to both of these awesome organizations, many of our students were able to see and touch an incredible range of possible careers – an experience that can help anyone learn more about themselves, and what they can imagine doing for work, one day. Blake and Cain were incredibly curious, courteous, and hilarious to be around – and were fantastic additions to our team of students. So glad they could join us for BOTH days of this inaugural job shadow experience!