Krystal Murphy brings a professional background and high personal energy to her new position as the community career collaboration coordinator (4C) at Park Rapids Area High School.

“We have really hit the ground running, and are trying to go fast,” she said in a recent interview.

The school board approved hiring her Monday, retroactive to Sept. 24, for a job conceived by the Heartland Lakes Development Commission’s Leadership Council to connect local students with hometown employers and job shadowing opportunities. She succeeds previous “4C” Travis Guida, who resigned in May.

Murphy said she has been meeting with school administration and finds them very supportive.

“We want to take this and run with this and make it grow at a fast pace,” she said. “We want this to be successful, and to really make this pop.”

Growing the program

Her goals include hosting career presentations and job fairs, starting a mentor-mentee program, having mock job interviews and connecting with the school’s career exploration, Panther Tracks and College in the High School programs.

“Once I’ve gathered information, we’ll work with the teachers to make sure every student is communicated with, and to make sure that they can excel,” said Murphy. “Eventually, we want to bring that to the middle school level as well, to get them started with knowing their strengths… and to start the process of (asking), ‘What am I going to do after school?’”

Already, Murphy said, she has taught workshops on life skills, such as how to interview for a job, write a resume and even shake someone’s hand.

“We’ve already talked about how to search for a job, and the students are blown away with how many opportunities there are here,” she said.

She has also met with almost every 12th grader to ensure that they have a plan for after graduation, and is creating a handbook that students can take home to help them with these skills.

“We are trying to grow the job shadowing experience and connecting students with the community,” she said. “There’s a lot of jobs that they want that are here.”

In the near future, Murphy said, she plans to meet with the 4C advisory board, help students explore job opportunities in the community, and look at how their studies align with their career plans.

Her experience on the job so far, she said, “confirms that this is why I do what I do. I’ve been loving it so far.”

Active in community

As a child, Murphy frequently visited the Park Rapids area, where her family had a cabin. She moved here this summer when her husband, Kevin Murphy, was hired to teach social studies at Century Middle School.

Originally from the Longville-Remer area, the Murphys both went to Remer High School, where Krystal played multiple sports, participated in music programs and was involved in her community.

She majored in business management and entrepreneurship at Bemidji State University. While there, she took career and internship development courses, and has stayed in touch with the career services department.

She was also president of the BSU business club and vice president of the HR club, which developed into a chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

After graduation, she worked for a while at Ameriprise Financial Services in Bemidji. Later, when her husband was teaching sixth grade at Remer Elementary, she worked at Midstate Plastics Corp.

“I was HR, I was controller of purchasing,” said Murphy. “I wore many hats, but it was a wonderful time. I loved it.”

During that time, she also coached basketball and assisted in softball at Remer.

All this shows, in her words, “that I’m qualified and ready to take hold of this and run, and that I’m very eager to do so.”

The couple was excited when Kevin was offered an opportunity to teach the subject he loves in Park Rapids. “We have family here, and love the community,” said Krystal. “We said if there’s a place to move to, it’d be Park Rapids. So, we’re very excited to be here.”

Murphy said she has “networked quite a bit” in the manufacturing industry, with contacts in shipping, production and sales. “I’ve learned a lot about all the opportunities,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of great people here.”

Murphy is already becoming involved in several local organizations, including Rotary, Chamber, the Downtown Business Association and ACTION Park Rapids – both to get to know people and to learn their insights, she said.

“I’ve always been very involved in my local community,” she said. “It’s what I’ve always loved to do. I’ve never not been busy.”

Building connections

As a former tourist turned resident, Murphy said, “It’s just a wonderful community. People have been very open and friendly, and there’s a lot to offer here.”

She hopes to connect with employers or hiring managers, and with students or parents who want to learn more.

“My door is always open,” said Murphy. “If I’m not here, I’m walking around the community. I’m hoping to reach every business” – and then, to share the message of what the town has to offer.

“Our goal here is to unite the school and the community,” she said. “We want to bring them together, to make the town more successful.”

For more information, call Murphy at 237-6442 or visit parkrapids.k12.mn.us/domain/64.