The Daily Northwestern

Annual Evanston youth employment fair reaches highest levels of participation

Students+attend+the+mayor%E2%80%99s+annual+youth+summer+job+fair+at+Evanston+Township+High+School.+This+year%2C+the+fair+included+more+than+30+businesses+and+offered+more+than+600+jobs+to+attendees.+
Students attend the mayor’s annual youth summer job fair at Evanston Township High School. This year, the fair included more than 30 businesses and offered more than 600 jobs to attendees.

Students attend the mayor’s annual youth summer job fair at Evanston Township High School. This year, the fair included more than 30 businesses and offered more than 600 jobs to attendees.

Source: Evanston

Source: Evanston

Students attend the mayor’s annual youth summer job fair at Evanston Township High School. This year, the fair included more than 30 businesses and offered more than 600 jobs to attendees.

Michelle Kim, Reporter

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A record number of businesses attended the mayor’s summer job fair Saturday to bring employment opportunities to high school students in Evanston.

The annual job fair drew its best turnout yet, said Porschia Davis, the city’s assistant youth and young adult program manager who was in charge of coordinating the event.

“We had more private employers participate in the program than we’ve ever had before, and we again had over 600 kids attend,” Davis said. “The common feedback from our employers this year was that the kids really came with their A-game this year.”

The event is held each year as part of the mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and is designed to connect Evanston students ages 14 to 18 with summer jobs, according to the city’s website. The fair was put on in collaboration with the Evanston Youth Job Center and Evanston Township High School.

The number of businesses present at the fair increased to more than 30, allowing for more than 600 job positions to become available to students, said Kevin Brown, the city’s youth and young adult program manager. Employers from Best Buy, Northwestern, Target, and local Evanston businesses presented available job openings and interviewed interested students. This year, Brown said the youth job program extended its employer choices to include businesses outside of Evanston, such as Six Flags Great America located in Gurnee, Illinois, and privately-owned McDonald’s locations in Skokie.

NU increased its participation significantly this year by offering about 27 job opportunities ranging from research positions to clerical jobs, spread throughout 13 departments at the school, said Javier Hernandez, NU’s human resources interim staffing manager.

“Each department had a vested interest in possibly having additional help over the summer,” Hernandez said, “So it’s a mutual benefit for both (parties) since the student comes in and gets additional exposure and experience in a field they’re interested in.”

The event exceeded expectations this year, continuing the growth observed in recent years, Brown said.

“Under Mayor Tisdahl, the program has grown exponentially,” Brown said. “In 2012, there were only 160 jobs available. In 2013, it increased to 350 jobs and in 2014, there were around 500 jobs obtained. The job fair just keeps getting bigger and better every year.”

Three weeks prior to the fair, participants were encouraged to attend at least one of three job readiness training programs run by volunteers from the Youth Job Center, the Kellogg School of Management and local businesses, Brown said. During these trainings, students developed their resumes, practiced interview etiquette and learned about possible career options.

Davis said a record number of kids attended the job readiness trainings, most likely due to a new incentive that allowed students who actively participated in the trainings to enter the fair more quickly.

The program’s staff is currently working to match each student with a job position, keeping in mind the preferences of both the candidate and the employer, Brown said. He added that every job position will be filled, so most students who participate will secure a job.

Email: yeareekim2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @yeareeka

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