SHELDON, Iowa (KCAU) — With rural populations on the decline across America, keeping workers around has become an increasingly difficult objective for many Siouxland industries.

The latest unemployment numbers from the Iowa Workforce Development show historically low levels with just 2.5% out of work in the Sioux City metro area and down to 3.7% statewide, but research shows the workforce dwindles even more in rural areas — making an event like Friday’s “Your Future @ Work” hosted by Northwest Iowa Community College even more significant for employers like Pella Corporation.

“Unemployment is very low, we’re actually in the corner where it is the lowest so we’re certainly all competing for the people that live here in northwest Iowa,” said Pella HR manager Judy Delberdang.

High school sophomores from nearly every town in Sioux County were able to scope out potential career paths through business booths and specific breakout sessions by presenters from industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing, all jobs that won’t disappear anytime soon.

One Sioux Center student explains what he took away from the experience.

“So I already had an engineering class and pretty much went through the basics of each engineering like civics engineering and mechanical and stuff and we found examples of that in the real world,” said Sioux Center sophomore Luke Lane.

Lisa Story is the president of the committee who organizes these events at NCC and said with partnerships like the Future Ready Iowa initiative that can provide tuition relief for specialized occupations, children in northwest Iowa are given the chance to succeed.

“Each of those colleges does something different in preparation for those jobs and career opportunities and I just think any child that grows up in northwest Iowa, they just have a golden pot here for education,” said Story.

Story said NCC will also be offering “Your Future @ Work” career events specifically for Lyon and O’Brien counties’ schools over the course of the spring semester.