DECATUR — Makayla Busby plans to become a pediatrician, so when the Eisenhower High School senior walked into the school's Jobs Expo she spotted Synergy Home Health Care agency and knew that would be one of her applications.
“I just like taking care of people,” Makayla said.
The Jobs Expo was held in Eisenhower's small gym on Monday and will be repeated at MacArthur High School today. The expo connects employers and high school juniors and seniors who are looking for part-time, summer and full-time work, said Ashley Grayned, extended learning coordinator for Decatur public schools, who organized the event.
“We have close to 30 businesses that are participating in the job fair,” Grayned said. “We have a big variety of partners — Convey (Health Solutions), construction, Caterpillar, Ameren — and we wanted to give our junior and senior students the opportunity to look for part-time and summer work, and our senior students who are graduating in May and looking into a career pathway.”
Grayned asked businesses in need of young employees to be prepared to interview and even make job offers on the spot, she said. Businesses often contact the school district looking for potential employees among students, Grayned said, and by having the expo at the schools, it made it easier to link potential employers with students.
Students signed up ahead of time with their counselors, and the English department helped them with resumés, while their counselors worked with them on good job interviewing skills such as eye contact and a firm handshake, Grayned said.
Kristi Orrick, human resources and risk management director for the Decatur Park District, had a variety of openings available that would suit students who will be 18 in time for summer, from working at Scovill Zoo to lifeguards at Fairview Pool to working in parks as helpers for summer programs.
“We're just trying to help match them up and educate them on the different job openings we have available,” Orrick said. “We're trying to get them to start thinking about what they might want to do in the summer, to keep them busy and where we can find a good fit for them.”
With Overlook Adventure Park getting ready to open this summer, there are several openings for teenage workers, for example, Orrick said. The zoo needs workers in the concession stand and gift shop, operating the train and the carousel and maintenance jobs at the golf courses.
Senior Kyanae Toombs plans to become an elementary school teacher and was looking for opportunities to work with small children.
“I love working with children,” she said. “I started off with the Decatur Park District to see if they have any summer camp opportunities, and they told me about two opportunities. Then I went to The Salvation Army, and they helped with the National Honor Society service learning hours.
"Those two really helped me a lot, so that helps with my senior year service learning hours (requirement) and with a summer job.”