by: Kara Thayn
Project Purpose and Objectives.
I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and something that would help our community. My brother is a high school councilor in a different city and talked about a career fair he had done for the school. I thought it sounded amazing and thought, “I wonder if they do that here? They should! Why can’t I do that?” And there this project was born.
I have a passion for kids’ success and believe that there are many different ways to be successful. Formal education is not for everyone. Some people are good with their hands and hate being cooped up inside. Others love spreadsheets or organizing parties. I wanted to show kids that there is a myriad of options for them in their future and they shouldn’t get so bogged down if the traditional occupations don’t interest them. Or if they love those traditional occupations, here is what you need to do to get there!
The Career Fair was a huge success! I had one person who called in sick. I was so thankful that we had enough volunteer professionals that losing one was not a big deal. I showed up to the school early to help sweep the cafeteria and set up tables. With the help of some teacher aides and the school secretaries, we had the fair set up and ready to go in just ten minutes. Our professionals came in, put their tablecloths on their tables, and set up. I was so impressed with the booths! Everyone had something for the kids to do and almost everyone had something to hand out—a great kid-pleaser.
Here is a run-down of the careers represented:
- Addiction Prevention Therapist: Presented picture books and a therapy dog (a big hit with the kids!)
- Corrections Officer from the County Sheriff: Answered questions
- Professional Practice Instructor: Had the kids do spherical puzzles to show how things work from the inside out.
- Water Distribution Engineer: Poured water into a bucket and the kids had to guess which spout it would come out first.
- Veterinarian: Displayed animal skulls and different veterinarian equipment.
- District Court Judge: Gave a quiz about the constitution and entered kids’ names in a drawing.
- Content Manager: Explained and showed kids how he makes YouTube finance videos for Charles Scwab.
- Physician: Let kids listen to each other’s hearts with a stethoscope and into their ears with an otoscope.
- 3D Print Manager: Displayed a 3D printer and let kids play with display items.
- Emery TelCom Marketing and Public Relations Specialist: Interacted with kids and handed out lighting wands.
- Machinist: Displayed parts he makes, had a metal magnetic test, and a 3D printed award drawing.
- Business Owner/Entrepreneur (Bent Metal): Displayed manufactured items and had a drawing for hats and candy.
- Probation and Parole Agent: Displayed drones, a waist chain, and had a drawing for hats.
- Geologist: Had “cupcakes” for kids to “drill” so they could see the layers of the earth and talked about all the minerals that make up the items in our everyday lives.
- Autobody Collision and Repair: Displayed car parts and had a drawing for the kids.
- Archaeologist: Had a display of items and pictures of digs.
- Botanist: Had a display of dried plants and pictures.
- Registered Nurse: Showed items used to take care of patients.
- “Gear Up” Director: Handed out magnets and erasers and talked about their program helps first-generation college students.
- Sunergy Manager: Handed out candy and talked about how he manages a sales team.
- Dental Hygienist: Had a giant model mouth and talked about flossing while giving the kids candy.
The biggest challenge was finding professionals who could come during a workday to talk to kids about their occupation. I hand delivered letters, made phone calls, sent texts, and posted on FaceBook and InstaGram, then said a prayer that someone would respond.
Admittedly, I am not the greatest at graphic design, so making the signs was daunting for me. I chose a simple design for the signs and was happy with how they turned out.
We were also concerned with keeping the kids occupied for the full amount of time. 10-year-olds can be rowdy and we worried that they would not be respectful to those who had given up precious time to come be with us. I came up with a questionnaire to give the kids some conversational guidance as they walked around to each booth.
- Contact schools to see what their interest level in a career fair was.
- Meet with the principal to plan for fair and discover what resources we had to work with.
- Create letter of intent and deliver it. Make a post on FaceBook and InstaGram. Call professionals in the community.
- Keep track of responses and send reminder texts about the fair and materials the participating professionals may need.
- Help set up the day of the fair. Be there to greet the professionals as they come in.
- Oversee the fair. Answer questions and provide help as needed.
- Clean up!
- Send thank you notes to all those who came.
- Meet with Mr. Palmer, Principal, for an evaluation of the fair.
Overview, Insights, Takeaways
I was so happy with how this fair turned out and I cannot have done it without the help of the community members! A positive side to living in a small community is that there are always people who want to help and they are relatively easy to reach.
I learned that the Career Fair is not for everyone. We had a couple of professionals that were happy to come, but I could tell they did not have a good time. I’ll probably send an invitation to come again next year, but I won’t worry if they don’t respond.
Next year we need to provide baggies for the kids to carry goodies in. I was not counting on so many handouts!
I had a fantastic time putting this together and working with so many wonderful individuals. I’m excited to do it again next year!