Preparing for real life

In the Jobs for America’s Graduates class at Seymour High School, students learn about résumés, cover letters and interview skills.

During an event tied in with their monthly food pantry, the students will be able to use those skills to help others prepare for a job interview. Then the next month, those people can return for a job fair.

JAG, which focuses on students who have faced educational barriers and helps them transition to life beyond high school, is sponsoring the first event from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18. The organization is partnering with Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., WorkOne and Seymour High School for the job fair from 4 to 7 p.m. March 24.

Both events will be in the Seymour High School cafeteria, where JAG offers a food pantry for Seymour Community School Corp. students and their families from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Gleaners Food Bank provides an allotment of food and delivers it each month, and school groups, clubs and teams also contribute items.

Celeste Bowman, JAG specialist at Seymour High School, said Assistant Principal Catherine DuBois presented her with the idea of doing a job fair in conjunction with the food pantry.

“The goal of the food pantry is to help eliminate hunger in our community, and there are many people potentially that are unemployed or underemployed,” Bowman said. “So if we could help them find a job or find better employment, it made sense.”

When Bowman brought up the job fair with her students, it grew into hosting an event the month before to help people prepare for the job fair.

At the Feb. 18 event, JAG students and WorkOne representatives will be on hand to help people write resumes and cover letters and complete job applications. WorkOne also will have applications for available jobs in the community.

JCIDC is in charge of finding employers for the job fair.

“I would like to have a good showing of employers, and I’d like to have a good showing of people, whether they are looking to improve their opportunities and find better employment or if they are underemployed and need a job,” Bowman said.

To let people know about the two events, Bowman had her students do marketing and advertising, putting fliers up around town and sending fliers home with elementary students.

Bowman said it was important to have her students involved.

“It helps them with leadership skills,” she said. “It helps them with planning and time management and just seeing how a project like this goes, and it gives them networking opportunities throughout the community. The community focus, obviously, is very important, too, just being able to give back to their community.”

Seniors Brittany Engelking and Mark Liles are among the JAG students helping prepare for the events.

“I think it’s a good thing because the community can come in and go through the food pantry. Then after that, if they need help with a job or have a resume, they can come in and get with people that are there to give them help,” Engelking said.

“It’s always good to help somebody else,” Liles said. “Sometimes, they don’t go out and look for (a job) on their own, and this just helps bring the jobs to them, in a sense.”

Engelking said she and her classmates are excited about using the skills they have learned through JAG to help others.

“We’re definitely looking forward to it,” she said. “It brings out your personality to help, and it’s always good to help with the community anyway.”

Bowman said the job fair also could be an opportunity for her students to talk with employers about a job for themselves.

“We picked March for our date of the job fair because we’ve got seniors graduating soon, and we’ve got seniors that graduated midterm, so we’ve got seniors that it would benefit, as well,” she said.

Bowman said she would like to make the job fair an annual event or offer it a couple of times a year.

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Jobs for America’s Graduates at Seymour High School is partnering with WorkOne, Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. and Seymour High School to offer a job fair for the community from 4 to 7 p.m. March 24 in the high school cafeteria.

To help people prepare for the job fair, JAG students and WorkOne representatives will be on hand from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in the high school cafeteria to help people with resumes, cover letters, interview skills and job applications.

Both events will be conducted in conjunction with JAG’s food pantry, which is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the high school cafeteria.