LISD TECH Center Hosts 4th Annual Reverse Job Fair
The LISD TECH Center hosted the 4th Annual Reverse Job Fair (RJF) Thursday, April 27. TECH Center seniors and juniors from the manufacturing, automotive, construction, and computer program areas were seated at tables, ready to highlight their strengths, display samples of their work, and resumes at the ready while prospective employers circulated the room on the lookout for talent matching their hiring needs. Students are seeking employment (immediate or summer), internships, and co-ops. This event has become a cornerstone in LISD TECH Center’s mission to get students career and college ready, along with helping meet our mission to be a talent pipeline for regional employers.
One such student, Bryce Perkins (Adrian High School), who is a 2nd year student in the Automotive Collision Repair and Refinish program, is hopeful to meet employers and make an impression that leaves a foot in the door to a fulltime career in collision repair and refinishing. This is his first experience at the RJF and says, “This is a good experience for practicing job interview skills.” Bryce’s desire is to stay in this field after high school and begin work fulltime immediately with future plans to attend WyoTech to further his mechanic training.
Julie Tokarz (Adrian High School), a 1st year student in the Building Trades program, is excited about the possibilities of the RJF. As a junior in high school, she is hoping for a summer job or internship with a focus on remodeling and/or construction management. Julie has been greatly influenced by her father, Ken, as he previously worked in construction and construction management. She said he is a great role model to her and has encouraged her in her pursuits. Julie is enrolled next year in the Residential Construction program at the TECH Center. Currently, she plans to apply to Ferris State University or Northern Michigan University to study Construction Site Management.
Another Adrian High School student, Nathan Horn is a 1st year student in the Welding Technology program. The RJF opens up the opportunity for him to conceivably continue his training in welding on a job site for the summer, until he begins the 2nd year of the TECH program this fall. His interest in this career began when he was told that there is a high demand for welders in the field; also, his older brother is completing certifications to begin a welding career. Nathan’s aspirations are to continue working through welding certifications and attend Hobart Institute of Welding Technology.
Employers that visit the job fair were excited as well, dreaming of the possibilities that might benefit their companies. One business that is already beginning to brainstorm new ideas is GB Manufacturing from Delta, Ohio. This 22-year-old business visited the TECH Center recently to talk with instructor Al Constable of the Machining and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) class. He invited them to attend the RJF event for the first time. GB Manufacturing was on the lookout for 1-2 students to hire for fulltime work as a machinist and a tool and die maker. Their company is also interested in starting both an apprenticeship program for recent high school graduates and 1st year student Co-op. They see the TECH Center as a great feeder in to this mutually beneficial agreement.
The fair would not be possible without the support from community partners. The concept was developed with the help and support of our workforce development and economic partners, South Central Michigan Works, Lenawee Now, Jackson Area Manufacturers Association (JAMA), Jackson College and Lenawee Intermediate School District.
The fair was a success for both students and employers who attended. The experiences students gained in writing resumes and interviewing with employers is invaluable. As employers search for skilled workers for their industry, the Reverse Job Fair opens the door to numerous possibilities. The Lenawee Intermediate School District exclaims the event is one of the most important things we do to support students. It creates a context to see the value of education and the realization that planning for the future is critical for success.