April 29, 2014
A job fair in Charlottesville Tuesday brought out hundreds of teens hoping to fill hundreds of open positions in the area.
It was the first Teen Opportunities Fair, sponsored by the The Piedmont Workforce Network held at the Virginia Workforce Center.
"Sometimes the youth and young adults are a little bit of an overlooked group and we wanted this opportunity to really get them a chance to get access to employers all in one place," said Sean McCusty, Piedmont Workforce Network's marketing and outreach manager.
Suited up with resumes in hand, hundreds of teens filed into the center to find work and chat with about 40 employers and organizations offering everything from internships to part-time summer jobs to full-time employment.
Charlottesville Parks and Rec, ACAC, Target and Boar's Head Inn were just a few of the participants.
While some students walked in with a resume full of experience, others were looking for their first chance at a real job. No matter their background, anyone ages 14 to 21 was welcome.
"If they've been part of and athletic teams, if they've been in clubs at school, if they've been in the band, those kind of things show they have the ability to stick to something and really be dedicated. Employers are looking for that kind of attitude and aptitude," said McCusty.
Fifteen-year-old job seeker Karen Buynak is looking to earn her first paycheck.
"I just got my permit and so my parents want me to get a source for gas money," said Buynak.
Bynak and her friend Aleksandra Koscova, 15, came to the fair together to try to get their first jobs.
"There's a lot of retail, which is good for a young girl who likes a discount at her favorite store," said Buynak.
Koscova also met with a few employers that caught her eye.
"I like working with the kids and maybe some summer camp jobs," she said.
Many of the jobs the teens were being recruited for were not available to them just a few years back.
"When we saw unemployment very high, these jobs were filled by adults because they couldn't find anything else to do," said center manager Elizabeth Bouldin-Clopton.
In the last few years, Charlottesville's unemployment has improved from 8 percent to just 4 percent.
"The unemployment dropping is to these young folks' advantage because now they have the opportunity to fill those jobs that the door was closed on before the unemployment dropped," said Bouldin-Clopton.
She says the Teen Opportunities Fair is a way to give hundreds of teens a chance to try their hand at a number of careers early on, setting them up for success.
"You've got a long time to work. Might as well find something you really want to do," said Bouldin-Clopton.
For more information about the Piedmont Workforce Network, click HERE.