Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will speak at the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism's annual dinner on Friday, January 12 at the Owatonna Country Club. Social time begins at 5:30PM with dinner at 6:30PM and the program at 7PM.

In their weekly newsletter email, the chamber says, "Pawlenty will speak about preparing Minnesota for the profound changes the next wave of technology will trigger as Artificial Intelligence and other advanced technologies will dramatically increase automation in almost every business sector and profession."

The Owatonna chamber provided an update from the Steele County Works program in the email. Anisha Zak, the workforce coordinator, has met with more than 70 high school-age students from the county to gauge their post-secondary plans. Eighteen percent have no plan yet for after high school. Fifteen percent plan to attend Riverland Community College. Some plan on careers in welding, the military and healthcare. A few plan to take a year off and then attend college.

Steele County Works is a partnership between Owatonna public schools, the United Way of Steele County and Workforce Development. Corporate sponsors include Federated Mutual Insurance, Cybex, Viracon, Wenger, Gopher Sport, Daikin Applied and Riverland Community College.

The chamber welcomes new members Prime Garage Door and More located at 2080 Truman Avenue and DexYP at 1493 Autumn Drive, who provides clients with ways to attract customers in a mobile economy.