By Julia Caulfield
The Wilkinson Library is buzzing with anticipation, excitement, and maybe a few nerves. True North Youth Programs – along with the library – is hosting the 2nd annual Teen Summer Jobs Fair. Twenty employers from around Telluride and Mountain Village are in the Program Room to meet with nearly fifty young people looking for work for the summer.
“It’s as much of a teen event as a community event. We’re such a small town it’s really important to have everybody on the same page, so having employers who are willing to participate and help these teens realize, this could be their first job, this is a big deal. While helping groom them for bigger and better things after high school or even college,” says Loren Knobbe, program director for True North Youth Program.
The organization works to help teens prepare for adulthood through tutoring and service learning programs.
“Finding those opportunities for both employers and students in our community is really important, and it’s a great way for everybody to come together and help each other out,” says Knobbe.
But the job fair isn’t only an opportunity for teens to meet with potential employers. There are also a number of breakout session that help prepare them for the job hunt. Sessions include things like a resume building workshop, job etiquette, interview tips and tricks, and mock interviews.
Aiden Ingram is 15, and came in from Norwood for the fair. He’s hoping to work as a life guard this summer and says the mock interviews were especially helpful.
Ingram says, “it was giving me more of an insight on what to look for in an interview.”
Maya Geiger agrees. She’s also 15 and came to the job fair last year as well. She says having the extra workshops has been a bonus.
“I feel like this year is more helpful because they have more ways for you to learn how to communicate with people who are interested in hiring you,” says Geiger.
According to Tiffany Osborn, that’s exactly the point. Osborn works as a service specialist at the library and teamed up with True North to develop the job fair after hearing from teens that businesses wouldn’t hire them.
“And then you talk to employers and they say ‘oh, we hire teens, but they need some training’ … I hope they learn how to have a job and advocate for themselves and be a good employee, and be respectful, and learn how to work. We don’t want them to go to college and go, ‘I’ve never had a job before, and this is the first time I’m ever walking into anything’ or get to college and say ‘oh my gosh, my parents said I need to make my own money, what do I do now’? We want them to have some experience, some experience of talking to people, looking people in the eye, speaking…” says Osborn.
And when all those skills line up, Sue Coons, HR Director for the town of Mountain Village, says local teens can be the perfect employees. She’s at the job fair looking for teens to work as gondola attendants for the summer.
Coons says, “gondola attendants from the high school are some of the best candidates we have because they know the area so well and they’re great at providing guest service for all our visitors, home owners, and guests.”
While the summer job fair is over, True North Youth Programs continues to provide weekly college and career prep support at the Telluride High School. More information is available at truenorthyouthprogram.org.