Apr 24, 2015

Career Technical Education Job Fair Provides Students with Real-World Experience


HIGHLANDS -- The Leslie Town Centre was the site of a career technical education (CTE) high school senior job fair on April 14, with 25 area companies participating. The one-day event, hosted by Highlands Workforce Development and Education, was a culmination for over 75 high school seniors from Jackson, Overton, Putnam and White Counties who participated in an Interview Boot Camp Program in their school districts earlier in the semester.


Companies were invited to interview students for potential part-time or full-time employment upon graduation from high school and test the skills taught during the Interview Boot Camp program. The boot camp is a five-hour, intensive seminar series offered over five school days to senior CTE students. The seminar topics included resume writing, application processes, dressing for success, soft skills and the interview process.


“I learned about the Interview Boot Camp during a site visit to Long Beach Unified School District in California. An opportunity to partner with California surfaced through the Highlands Pathways to Prosperity program.  I was excited to adapt a program to be utilized in the area high schools by our talented academic career coaches, who conducted the classes. The student job fair was a win-win opportunity for students as well as employers, and I am hopeful more will take advantage of this opportunity in the future,” said Lisa Yoder, Highlands Workforce Development and Education liaison.


The Interview Boot Camp sessions provided the opportunity to teach marketable skills to students and prepare them for the job market. Skills every employer expects to see in a qualified candidate were taught to the students. Soft skills are often the number one issue employers look for in a candidate, and students were taught the importance of demonstrating these skills during the interview process. Academic Coaches in the school districts also stressed the importance of dressing appropriately, writing an effective resume, and gave tips for a successful interview.


“The event was well prepared and professional,” said Gary Flynn, Jackson County Economics Instructor.


The Highlands Workforce Development and Education committee looks forward to providing this program annually based on feedback from the students, school officials and employers. This type of program is in keeping with our mission of preparing the workforce for 21st Century jobs in the region.


Highlands Workforce Development and Education is a program of the Highlands Economic Partnership, a 4 county economic collaboration with Jackson, Overton, Putnam and White Counties. Partners and stakeholders include K-12 education, post-secondary education, and business and industry. For more information about the Highlands Workforce Development and Education programs of work, contact Lillian Hartgrove at 931-526-2211 or