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What I learned
at the Senior Job Fair
By Mike Stegall
Tuesday April 12th at the Greenville High School, seniors from most of
the schools in the county came to visit with, interview, and to be
interviewed by 15 of our fine businesses. Lisa Wendel, our
workforce specialist, has done a great job organizing and putting on
this event along with Melanie Nealeigh, the office coordinator.
The Economic Development office has worked very hard to make sure our
students know the possibilities for employment in Darke County. I
have been fortunate enough to be invited to both of the Job fairs that
have been held so far.
Now, I will admit it is hard to convince young people to get into
politics (more on that later!), but it does give me the chance to do
something I love to do: interact with young people. It is a real
eye opener if you allow them the opportunity to tell you what they
think, how they believe things should be, and their goals in
life. I enjoy watching how they interview, and the complete
differences and also the sameness of thought they all have. It is
a great 3 hours for me! As I sat there at my station listening to
these bright, young students, I couldn’t help but learn some things
about them, and about myself too. So, I have decided to share
some of what I learned from them.
These are all good kids. They come to this fair to plan their
futures, and to learn of the possibilities available here. Their
futures are extremely important to them, more than one thinks of when
they think of young people.
There are only a few that do not have concrete plans, they just want a
job. The ones who are not sure yet what their future is still are
ready to get in the workforce. Several are looking forward to a
factory job, and they are impressed with the technology we have in our
companies. A few want to get into construction, welding and truck
driving. One young man is working with Mike Dellagatta at the
Versailles Inn to be a chef! This was good to hear! These
jobs right now are in huge demand, along with maintenance personnel.
Except for one person, none of them were interested in getting into
politics. Nothing surprising here, but what was surprising
is how informed about national politics most of them were. Of the
ones I asked, most said their parents kept them informed, or tried to
insulate them from politics! They all agreed that the last election
left a very bad taste in their mouths, and most said they had no trust
in the media! Most of them knew nothing of local politics, and
only a few even knew anybody in local government!
Most of them when asked to be totally honest, will be. I was
proud of most of them when I asked them to be totally honest and look
me in the eye and tell me what they thought of politicians! They
did! It wasn’t a very flattering opinion, but it was an honest
one! That I was glad to hear! This shows me a desire to be
truthful, and do it in a way that was not rude, just honest. This
generation for the most part is thoughtful, considerate, and good to
each other, but they are willing to give someone their opinion when
asked. Another honest answer that should surprise everyone was
when asked if they would consider raising their families here, almost
all said they would! That’s a good thing!
Oral communication and interviewing are the practices that need to be
improved. Technology has deprived many of our young people of
this practice. Most students seemed timid, and found it difficult
to look you in the eye when interviewed, and were unprepared to answer
questions. I would encourage schools and homes to both teach and
practice these very important skills, and the art of the handshake.
Most of our companies thoroughly enjoy this experience and will return
again. I heard several say they got some good leads, one company
even had one of the students who intern for them!
This was another success for Darke County Economic Development.
We are doing many things to help people find work, (plenty of jobs
here!), and help our companies to grow and prosper. This is a
work in progress. Events like the Senior Job fair give students
and businesses the opportunity to find each other and to allow both to
find common ground with mutual benefit for all. Next year, we
hope to get more students involved, and to continue our partnership
with our companies so they have enough qualified employees, and our
future workers have a career, instead of just a job. Now, we just
need to work on this politician thing…………