By Christina Appignani and Megan Downer

Malden High School held its annual Career Fair on the morning of Thursday, Apr. 14, 2016 in the cafeteria. Tables were set up all across the cafeteria with hiring managers from several career fields offering free items and employment opportunities for students. Around 150 students during Periods 4, 5 and 6 attended the fair. Over 40 companies and corporations had their own tables at the fair that were managed by employers who were eager to inform Malden’s youth of employment opportunities.

The fair was organized by Special Education teacher Kelli Collomb. The annual Career Fair began five years ago when teen employment was at its lowest and employers weren’t hiring. It was a rough time for hiring managers to be able to offer jobs to students due to the low employment rates.

Collomb stated, “Over 100 applications were handed out [at the fair] to students and seven employers were seeking out students to recruit at the fair.” She continued, “[Students] were interviewed on the spot [and asked] if they [were] over the age of 18 and met requirements.” The interview is “more of a screening process where employers who are meeting students really get a sense if they are interested in the business,” added Collomb.

Along with employers, community colleges were also present at the fair, including Bunker Hill, Mass Bay, Middlesex and North Shore. These colleges allowed students to fill out admissions on the spot while at the fair.

Collomb believes that the career fair is valuable because “students from ages 14 to 22 are getting early exposure to the job market. Younger students are getting to talk to employers, being professional, learning how to introduce themselves and asking questions to professionals in different fields, while older students who are actually looking for jobs get to see what’s available to them.” Collomb’s position enables her to be active with teen employment so that she is able to “make connections on behalf of students and talking with employers or training managers.”

In order for employers to hire students, Collomb mentioned that they rely on “the relationship that you have with them that allows you to be able to call them up and building relationships by referring students to them. It’s really about marketing, whether that’s making contacts, calling them up and explaining the career fair.”

Over the years Collomb has found that “employers are more willing to come to the high school because there is a sustained effort from the city to train students in work readiness. Because of the employment programs [Malden] has, students are getting prepared earlier for real life jobs.” Malden continues to work towards providing as many opportunities as possible for youth to obtain employment. The career fair is one of the many opportunities for all Malden youth to explore the different types of employment available to them.

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