Students interact with potential employers at annual employment fair.

Graduating seniors get jumpstart on job search through district’s annual employment fair

April 19, 2023 – It’s an opportunity Colombia native Andrews Restrepo thought he’d never have.

“A a first-generation immigrant, I have a lot of family still in my other country that I want to bring over,” said Restrepo. “This event has really shown me that you can get a lot of jobs without a degree. And there are a lot of career opportunities for people out there.”

The Sandalwood High School senior was one of hundreds of students who spent the morning of April 5 applying for jobs and interacting with local employers at the district’s second annual employment fair. Held at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, the fair was organized by the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department in partnership with Career Source and JAXUSA.

“We’re truly just matching students with employers who have open positions, and hopefully finding them an employment opportunity for after graduation to ensure they have some sort of plan when they graduate and leave us and enter into society,” said Jill Fierle, the district’s director of CTE.

Seniors from every high school were invited to attend. They were exposed to a variety of industries as they spoke one-on-one with recruiters and representatives in health care, financial services, manufacturing, military, hospitality, and more. 

For CSX Talent Specialist Kaitlyn Mcrae, the event was just as beneficial for employers as it was for students.

“This is our next generation, this is our next labor force,” said Mcrae. “You’re only as good as what you’re investing into the community and getting your brand out there and knowing who is available.”

Before entering the fair, students participated in an interactive session where they reviewed important interview skills such as wearing appropriate attire and using effective communication.

Between the resources and the opportunities, Restrepo believed he left with an even greater sense of gratitude for his school and for the district.

”I’m just so happy that my school district is available to do stuff,” he said. “My country (doesn’t) have this type of stuff; it’s a 70-30 chance to get a minimum wage job. So I find it very nice and inspiring and fulfilling that our school does stuff like this.”

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