photo by Sydney King

Juniors Michelle Boamah and Kaylun Edwards review information about the 62 participating businesses at the Career Fair on Mar. 11.

by Sydney King and Andrew Okwuosah

McEachern High School, Kids Business Expo and Chick-fil-a Leader Academy (CFLA) teamed up to host a career fair Mar. 10, allowing students to connect with local business leaders for job opportunities and professional guidance.

“I think it’s a great opportunity not just for them to look for future employment opportunities,” Chick-Fil-A Macland Crossing manager Zach Thomas said, ”but also to learn about future career possibilities.”

For some students, the thought of having a job is just another step toward adulthood, while for others it’s nerve wracking. With a teen unemployment rate of 30.6 percent in Georgia in 2013, finding employment has become a struggle for most students.

Assistant Principal Joshua Ford explains the goal of this program is to lead students to the “gold level” by having them attend all three workshops before the Career Fair. The three workshops focused on Resume Building led by Incomm Director of Communications and Human Resources Scott Mortensen, Interview Training led by AT&T Human Resources employee Paula Jackson and Business Networking led by Catalyst Unrivaled Results Strategic Partner Dan Crock.

Sixty-two local businesses and government agencies including WellStar Kennestone Hospital, AutoBell Car Wash, and the Cobb County Police Department participated in the fair. For career fair planners, the process of recruiting business participation was long and hard.

“We got other businesses involved by making a lot of phone calls and built a foundation of relationships with them through last year’s event,” Ford said.

Most teens experience anxiety with their first job interview, but the three workshops that preceded the career fair were offered to lessen that feeling by strengthening interviewing and communication skills in order to boost confidence.

“It was complicated because I don’t have any work experience and I didn’t know what to put on my resume,” sophomore Jewel Barber said.

Despite diving into the event with trepidation, the career fair served as a catalyst for many students to begin considering career options.

“It’s helped me decide what I want to do in life,” sophomore Joshua Acton said. “Just seeing this makes me think ‘Do I wanna do this, that, or something else.’”