Workshop prepares students for employment
By Trish Tsitsera
Eighteen seniors from Franklin High School attended an Employment Readiness Workshop recently organized by the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA and the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way. The event was hosted by the Village at Woods Edge and included presentations from local human resource representatives about writing resumes and cover letters, filling out applications, preparing for interviews and presenting the best image to a potential employer.
Meghan Councill, president of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the students during breakfast about her work history, lessons she has learned while job searching, obstacles to overcome and the importance of networking.
“I think it is important that we help these students make connections with the resources they need to get where they want to go — whether that be job training, a career path or college,” said Councill.
International Paper’s Danielle Gail presented tips about resumes, cover letters and applications before local business representatives paired off with the students to work on filling out applications. Gail shared examples of application packets that stand out and ones that are instantly passed over, stressing the importance of making a great first impression. In addition to sharing information about current job openings at International Paper, Gail expressed the importance of researching the company to which you are applying.
Holly Ledbetter of Bronco Federal Credit Union and Ellis Cofield III of Paul D. Camp Community presented workshops about the interview process and presenting your best self to potential employers.
The students asked important questions and received some real-world advice from the presenters, then broke into small groups of 2-3 students to conduct mock interviews with local business leaders.
For the students, the mock interviews were the highlight of the workshop. Student Iscon Branch stated that the best part was the “energy and enthusiasm of the mentors.” Other students remarked that the skills that they learned during the mock interview process were valuable and would help them in a real interview situation. One student suggested to enhance the experience by arranging real on-site interviews with local companies that are hiring, which organizers agree would be a great addition to the event next year.
At the end of the day, students were able to ask questions and receive additional “dos and don’ts” of the job search process from their business mentors. Each senior received a packet of resources that included local job openings, additional tools for career searching, and a list of contacts in the community.
Event organizers Catarina Johnson and Trish Tsitsera hope to expand the program at Franklin High School in the next school year and plan to include additional workshops that touch on budgeting and finance, school financial aid and scholarships, customer service and communication skills and volunteerism and leadership in the community.
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