Career fair gives kids a look at possibilities
March 19, 2014
EDWARDS — The generation gap evaporated Tuesday morning when hundreds of teenagers met with dozens of local employers to talk about jobs and careers.
Local Rotary Clubs hosted their annual career fair at Battle Mountain High School. About 70 local employers showed up.
High school kids are busy, and for Eagle Valley junior Jet Quealy, it was his biggest kick since, well … since Saturday. He was Shrek in Eagle Valley's spring musical "Shrektastic," but Tuesday was time to start thinking about other things.
"We keep hearing about school to career, but here it all is in one room," Quealy said.
The Rotarians worked through local media to reach parents. To reach the kids, they worked through social media.
Their timing was also good.
Freshmen and sophomores were taking state standardized tests Tuesday, leaving juniors and seniors free to wander Battle Mountain's gym and get some career ideas and advice.
Some kids need less advice than others.
Chris Kerr, for example, is a skateboard enthusiast who launched a clothing company with some of his friends, Thugnasty. They design and sell apparel and grip tape, that scratchy tape that helps skaters stick to the decks of their boards and help them stay on, and not bonk their noggins. Noggin bonking is bad.
Money, however, is good. Thugnasty is turning a small profit, Kerr said.
Kerr is interested in graphic design. He and his friends started Thugnasty with some plain T-shirts and Sharpie markers. They bought a T-shirt press for about a hundred bucks and forged ahead with the full knowledge that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and snowboard legend Jake Burton all started in the garage.
"We're excited to see where this takes us," Kerr said.
He was also trying on firefighter gear and collecting information about internships, just in case.
Donna Albani is Steammaster's director of business development. That means she's looking for hands to send to jobs, and jobs to which she can send hands.
"Every arm of the organization has a specialized set of skills," she said. "We're looking for people we can train and who can learn those skills."
SWAG and citrus
Rick Spitzer is one of the Rotarians who put this year's career fair together.
The local Rotary Clubs have been doing this for about 15 years. For a while they didn't, then TV8's Steve Wodlinger decided they should. He enlisted Spitzer and other Rotarians, and before you could say, "Y'all come," they had it up and running again.
"It gets kids introduced to different careers," Spitzer said.
To help them prepare for the career fair, they all got tips on how to talk to teenagers. On the other side, they handed every kid a sheet of suggested questions.
The best advice was to make the kid talk to you for a few moments before they got any swag.
And they got some swag.
There was the standard candy and mints, rubber wristbands, fresh fruit, forms to fill out and information all the kids wanted — how to get a job or internship.
Claire Guzik and Payton Stahly are Eagle Valley High School seniors. They and their friends learned that there are more local internships than they realized. Gallegos even has an apprentice program.
Also, kids were entered into a drawing for an iPad mini, because in career success, everything is a question of the proper motivation.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.