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Students Get Educated About Job Market

POSTED February 2, 2010 3:36 p.m.

The Careers In Manufacturing (CIM) Road Show made a visit to Oakdale High School on Jan. 26, bringing in approximately 170 people who were interested in finding out more about available jobs for students and recent high school graduates.

OHS Career and Scholarship Technician Leticia Salas coordinated the event with the help of Jan Ennenga, Executive Director of Manufacturers Council of the Central Valley.

“The CIM Road Show is attached to the WorkKeys Assessment, a job skills assessment system to measure ‘real world’ skills that employers believe are critical to job success,” explained Salas. “We offer this assessment free of charge to students who are interested in part-time and permanent jobs in manufacturing.

“These jobs are ideal for students who are attending college in the fall but need a good income job in seasonal (work), or for students who want a career in manufacturing,” she added.

A week prior to the event, Greg Gaudio from the Department of Employment and Training, also known as Alliance WorkNet, spoke to every senior about the opportunity. Students who attended the CIM Road show now have priority to participate in the assessment and application process. The assessment measures 10 foundational workplace skills and shows the current skill levels of an individual. It compares the person’s skill levels to the skills and skill levels needed to be successful in certain jobs. Where there are gaps in skills, those needs can be addressed with training to help improve a student’s success in gaining employment and improve their performance with entry-level and subsequent jobs.

“We had students that came from East Stanislaus High School and Waterford High School,” Salas said of the variety of students in attendance. “I was pleasantly surprised at the response, the biggest surprise was how many recent graduates came.”

She reported that many 2009 graduates came to the event looking for employment opportunities. She said most of them told her stories of college situations that hadn’t worked out, mainly because of financial aid cuts and classes being very difficult to get into.

“They explained that they had a difficult time getting elective classes, (there were) large class sizes and many of the required classes were virtually impossible to get into,” she said. “In frustration, many decided to postpone college and work to save money – definite signs of the times. Our recession has truly affected students and adults alike.”

At the event, there were representatives from Silgan Containers in Riverbank and Frito-Lay, as well as Del Monte.

“We are hopeful that Sconza will get on board and join the many area manufacturing companies hiring student who take advantage of the WorkKeys,” Salas added. “It would be a great thing for our student to have a local company hire for seasonal jobs.”

Ennenga was the first speaker of the evening, speaking to the students about the partnership with The Alliance Worknet and CIM. There was also an educational pathways component offered by Modesto Junior College, and other speakers offered more information about the how the WorkKeys program works.

There were employer booths and the businesses represented provided information about career opportunities and potential growth within their companies. They showed brief videos of their processing plants and gave salary and benefits information as well.

“Parents and students were very excited about the employment opportunities,” Salas said. “Many of them commented on what a valuable tool it is to have in this economy. They were all grateful that Oakdale High is working to help students prepare for not only college but to prepare them for the workforce.”

Salas explained that the next step is the job application process and then the actual WorkKeys assessment, which is slated for February and March.

For more information about the WorkKeys assessment, go to the website www.workkeys.com.
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