Vail Valley: Job fair pairs teens with jobs
EDWARDS — Give a kid a break. Better yet, give a kid a job.
Jobs were looking for kids during the recent Battle Mountain High School annual job fair, sponsored by Workforce Center Colorado, local Rotary Clubs and the Eagle County Schools.
The annual event not only features all kinds of businesses seeking help, but all kinds of teen job seekers.
Some kids wore suits and business attire, packing resumes. They had practiced their firm handshakes. Others had slouched out of class and were moving from booth to booth, grabbing candy.
One booth was extremely popular. It was giving away doughnuts. No, it was not local law enforcement.
Skills and work ethic
Katie Boothby is an employment specialist with the Workforce Center and helped put the whole thing together, with Eagle County Schools’ Career X program, where businesses offer kids things such as internships and apprenticeships, job shadowing and ride-alongs with local law enforcement.
Teens also learn about actual work and how you trade time, talent and toil for legal tender.
“By giving the youth a job you promote work ethic, help develop people skills and help increase maturity level. Youth want to work,” Boothby said.
Steven Barber was recruiting summer help for the Eagle-Vail Golf Club. His pitch was convincing. If you live in Avon or Eagle-Vail, then you can commute on your bike and the work is varied.
“Variety helps. Kids don’t want to do the same thing all the time,” Barber said.
“Plus, it puts a little money in their pocket.”
Tech jobs, training
Tucked in against a wall were three guys from EVO-3 and CodeBeetle. They teach computer coding, website design and other 21st century skills that — and appreciate the irony here — you’re reading about in print on technology invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
Most businesses don’t have the resources to keep staffers around for this sort of thing, and frankly don’t care why a computer does what it does. They just want the thing to work.
EVO-3 operates out of Frisco and Denver, and decided a few years back that they can’t find the skills they need in the young adult labor force — EVO-3‘s Aaron Landau calls it a “talent gap,” so they decided grow their own.
“College does not address that talent gap,” Landau said.
Gap? Landau said there are 250,000 cyber security jobs available right now.
For the educrats among us, it’s called “blended learning.” You can go to class to learn this stuff, or you can do it online.
“We have people crack open laptops in hotel rooms for a session,” said Matt Leach of CodeBeetle.
Still, it’s better together, Landau said.
“Students tend to do better work when they collaborate,” Landau said.
Traditional school systems are bound to struggle finding and keeping tech teachers who can do this sort of instruction, Leach said, especially when first-year teachers learn they can double their salaries writing code, designing and maintaining websites and writing code.
Like many start-up firms of this sort, they simply expect you to get your work done — well and on time. If it’s a powder day, then you can expect to hear the swishing of rip-stop nylon ski pants and the click of poles in the early afternoon as people roll into work.
Ride along, work along
Local law enforcement was out in force at the event. The Vail Police Department was signing up prospects for their Explorer Post, a scouting program. Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger has been working this job fair for 15 years. He smiles as he watches Commander Daric Harvey demonstrate handcuff techniques on a couple students.
“Our Explorer program and programs like it are a great way for kids to understand what sorts of careers are available in law enforcement,” Henninger said.
For more traditional jobs, the Vail Recreation District was looking for crews to help with events all summer. It’s outdoor work, it pays well above the minimum wage, and because they’re event jobs you can often work them around other gigs, said the recreation district’s Kip Tingle.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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