The 30th annual Albany Chamber of Commerce Youth Job Fair brought more than 1,300 high school seniors, including all seniors at Albany Options School, South Albany and West Albany high schools, to Linn Benton Community College this week.
GAPS sends all high school seniors every year to complete students’ career education requirement for graduation.
High school teachers say it reinforces the messages that students learn about work and careers and it provides an opportunity to practice in a low-risk environment. “Students learn the routine of seeking and pursuing a job and preparing to apply and interview,” said SAHS teacher Denee Newton. “It validates what we’ve told them.”
“During the interviews, they are learning that they will be judged on how they present themselves,” said SAHS teacher Katie Gisler. “Your appearance matters.”
“The students had an incredible time and came back to school feeling inspired and excited for their futures,” said AOS counselor Anna Harryman. “Many Juniors commented to me the following day about how they’re looking forward to the event next year after hearing their peers talk about it.”
The event offers students who will soon be entering the workforce or pursuing career training an opportunity to learn more about careers and practice job seeking skills.
Students cycle through three sessions: a resource fair that includes industry representatives who can answer questions and set up application interviews, an inspirational speaker, and mock interviews that allow students to practice interview skills. Each student can interview twice. Interviews are conducted by 250 volunteers. Some interviewees offer jobs to students during this mock interview process.
The event is part of the Chamber’s Pipeline to Jobs project to help students find meaningful work and employers find qualified workers. It is billed as a community program to provide career guidance to our most important resource – the youth of Linn and Benton counties.
“It is a huge collaborative effort, and the community is so supportive,” said Josefine Fleetwood, executive director of the Pipeline Project. “We couldn’t provide the extensive opportunities we provide without support from employers.
Albany Options also contributed community service time to the event. The 34 students who attended stayed after the event to take down all of the tables and chairs as well as clean up the whole gymnasium where the mock interviews were held.