Students spur workforce readiness for peersFULDA — High school seniors Brooklyn Williams and Taylor Tuin are getting a head start in preparing not only themselves but their peers for their passage into the workforce.
FULDA — High school seniors Brooklyn Williams and Taylor Tuin are getting a head start in preparing not only themselves but their peers for their passage into the workforce.
“If college goes as fast as high school did, we need to be ready,” said Williams, who partnered with Tuin for an FCCLA workforce readiness project.
With the help of Eriann Faris from the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, the pair invited five business professionals from various industries to the high school Friday for a question-answer session with their graduating class.
Employers at the session were Jody Steiner from Fulda Auto Repair, Julie Hulstein from Maynard’s, Fulda, Greg Gruber from Shopko, Marshall, and Liz Clarke and Jeff Fouch from Wal-Mart, Worthington.
They addressed issues ranging from first impressions during an interview to the consequences of social media.
“Who you know can make a big difference,” Fouch said. “I don’t want to throw out what you know either. How you present yourself and what you can bring to the job is important.”
Students learned the importance of networking and knowing the right people in the industry.
“We base a lot of hiring on recommendations by our associates,” Fouch said. “The people who work for us are our best recruiters.”
Steiner explained that first impressions should rank at least an eight on a scale of one to 10.
“You want to make the best impression you can make,” he said. “Talk and act like you want the job. It’s up to the person and how bad (he or she) wants the job.”
Gruber added that job applicants have limited time to make an impression during an interview.
In terms of social media, seniors were cautioned that the content of their social media pages could affect an employer’s perception.
“It definitely has its downfalls,” Fouch said.
Gruber noted that while Shopko isn’t actively monitoring their employees’ social networking sites, he stressed that there are employers who “will look into your personal life, your traits, and what you do in your spare time.”
Planning and executing a project like the one on Friday requires commitment outside of school time, Williams said.
Williams and Tuin began their project in December. With the help of their FCCLA adviser Marcine Elder, they decided that workforce readiness would be a fitting project.
Based on the results from surveys distributed to area high school seniors, the pair coordinated specific topics that employers could speak about.
“The title of our project is ‘We’re Not Ready and We Know It,” Tuin said. “From our surveys, some didn’t even know what a resume was.”
Friday’s session was the second such session the pair had planned for their peers at Fulda High School. They recorded both sessions and plan to mail copies of the recordings to high school seniors who responded to the surveys.
Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at 376-7321.