Jobapalooza connects teens and employers
College of Lake County will host its annual Jobapalooza for ages 15-21 on March 7. At last year's event, which attracted nearly 1,000 people, M.C. Rydel with IMRadio met job seekers. | Josh Peckler~For Sun-Times Media
Who: Nearly 30 employeers recruiting for full-time, part-time and seasonal work
When: 6 to 8 p.m. March 7
Where: College of Lake County, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake
Info: (847) 543-2059 or www.collegecentral.com/jobapalooza.
Updated: March 5, 2013 8:48AM
To improve their chances of landing a job in a rough economy, hundreds of Lake County teens and young adults will don their best dress clothes and fine-tune their resumes for the College of Lake County’s annual Jobapalooza on March 7.
The annual event attracts up to 1,000 young workers, ages 15 to 21, who are hoping to find either full- or part-time summer jobs, or even work that will last beyond the season.
“It’s important for them to jump on this opportunity,” College of Lake County career center Director Sylvia Johnson said. “We have (employers) who understand they are younger, so they are there to mentor and coach them. In return, the youths are rewarded with work experience they can apply to future jobs and internships.”
The event is the county’s largest youth job fair and includes nearly 30 employers like amusement parks and park districts, who are currently hiring teens and young adults. Prospective employers include organizations like Waukegan Township, Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark, 7-Eleven, the U.S. Army and TCF Bank.
Jobapalooza is sponsored by the Lake County Job Center and the College of Lake County Career and Placement Services Office, so it also includes resource and training providers who can answer questions and help young people in their job search.
But Johnson already has some tips for job-seekers even before they arrive. First, she says, “dress to impress.” In fact, those who dress well will be entered to win a prize.
“I always tell the kids to dress nicely, have a 30-second speech, a little business card or, ideally, a resume,” she said. “Be polite and be brave. Don’t be afraid to talk to employers.”
The idea of Jobapalooza is really to create a long-term effect, organizers say. Although the immediate goal is to help students land a job in a sluggish economy, the overall goal is to teach young people skills that transfer all the way into their adult careers.
Often, Johnson said, that’s exactly how it works.
“We will hear from kids who have come through the fair or who will write on our Facebook page and say ‘I’m doing well because you allowed me this experience, you taught me the importance of time management, being prepared and being a team player. I’m here because you gave me an opportunity.’”