Churchill County High School’s annual Employability Fair gave Career and Technical Education (CTE) juniors and seniors the opportunity to ask professionals questions, hear their insights and attend special learning sessions.
The half-day fair offered conversations with Fallon’s business, community and education leaders — to learn more about local and regional employment options as well as gain an understanding of what they are looking for from prospective job-seekers.
“Find something,” said Hoyt Skabelund, Banner Churchill Community Hospital CEO, adding McDonald’s, volunteering or anything one can become passionate about and work hard in pays future dividends.
The event schedule first featured a speaker panel followed by rotating classroom workshops and one-on-one student interviews at numerous tables in the gym.
The panel included Skabelund, a program officer with the Nevada Department of Employability and a city of Fallon certified public accountant.
The panel encouraged students to take the time to job-shadow.
Kelly Smith, the Nevada Department of Employability program officer, emphasized “soft skills.” She said being reliable and enthusiastic can go a long way toward career success.
Smith added the state’s employability program can help students figure out the skills they need, what different professions pay, college scholarships, military options and paths that may not include higher education. The department also assists with résumés and applications as well as finding a job and obtaining an interview.
“There’s a lot of life to live and things to do,” said Skabelund, reflecting on feeling like a teenager and what he thinks is wise to know. “And it takes money to do that.”
The panelists also answered prepared written questions covering employment that does not require experience or education and the question if transcripts and social media presence matters.
The professionals responded loyalty and adopting the culture can outrank experience; they also said certifications can be helpful. The panelists added that yes, employers do check transcripts, references, a portfolio and social media, summarizing “it’s the whole package” when it comes to organizations investing in potential employees.
Workshops topics included customer service, social media, interviewing and dressing for success — while interviewers represented industries such as medical, construction, law enforcement, print and marketing, banking, geothermal, real estate, restaurant, retail, education, the military and economic development.
There were also networking nutrition breaks for students and participants.
Tracy Russel, the manager of Men’s Warehouse in Reno, presented the “Dress for Success” workshop, going over interview attire and other tips.
“I know people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but they do,” she said. “Professional, formal, never goes out of style.”