CCHS Job Fair

On May 9th, doors to the Carbondale Community High School gym opened to those looking for employment at the CCHS job fair. The annual event features dozens of local businesses looking to hire, especially those of students still in school, or directly entering the workforce after graduation. The all day event allows for students to meet with employers and jump straight into an interview, speeding up the process and allowing for students to begin work as soon as the school year ends.

From Taco Bell to Southern Illinois Hospital services, the event showcases a variety of employers present, allowing for both minimum wage retail work, as well as more niche, long-term employment for those who plan on staying in Southern Illinois after graduation.

Lex Dietz, faculty of SIT Service Dogs, Supporting Independence through Teamwork, a service that trains and places service dogs with “medically complex kids and young adults,” explains the benefits of hiring high school students, as well as how their company and the available employment track possible in these students future:

“High school students make some of the best kennel techs, it’s a really good place to get your feet wet and learn. It seems to be really conducive for summer help particularly, to kind of be your first job, because there is a really good support network. There are 36 of us all together, the trainers care, they are in and out of the kennels pulling dogs, they’ll help the kennel techs, things like that. So we have found it’s a really good structure for that. We also have a large mentor program at SIU called Saluki Service dogs that we’ve worked with for 9 years, and after a year of training, they can go on an train their dogs, and we have figured out that we are not just a service dog program we are a mentor program. So the more we can pull in students, and things like that, the better.”

In addition to hosting the job fair, CCHS counselors and advisors held resume drives, mock interviews, and mentored students about the job search process. These opportunities not only gave students an insight into how to behave in a professional environment, but also taught them real life skills about the process of getting a job.

CCHS Junior, Julie Todaro-Abarca, recalls her journey to getting a job and how opportunities given to her from the job fair helps get her out of her comfort zone: “My main reason to get a job is just to start off, so I could feel the grass of the work environment and get adjusted to the stressload, and also just again broaden my horizons and to meet new people- to get new opportunities introduced to myself. And I also think that it would just be great in general because I’d be working with a team and I’d be able to put myself out there, unlike–like I wouldn’t usually put myself out there, but for a job I would.”