By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Young adults ages 16 to 21 took their first step toward entering the workforce April 4 by attending the 11th annual Teen Job Fair at the Pleasant Street Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest (BGCM). Representatives from local businesses answered questions and offered advice. They also provided applications for full- and part-time work for this summer and year-round.
Among the BGCM staff mingling with guests was President Francis Hurley.
“For some of our club members and also outside visitors, it's the first time they'se actually talking to an employer, so they'se in a position where they'se filling out their first job application,” he said. “Even if a visitor doesn's get their first job out of this, it's a great experience for them to walk away with all the information.”
The job hunters” first stop was a presentation by St. Mary's Credit Union with Chantal Zeh, a human resources representative, who relayed her personal work experience.
“I'se been with St. Mary's since I was 17, so I was in your shoes,” she told them. “I applied and got a part-time teller position. I worked after school through high school, through college, and through graduate school. Even though you'se only looking for a short-term job for the summer or after school, you never know where that can lead.”
Zeh was joined by coworker Sherrie Maker, assistant vice president of human resources. They role-played a 30-second “elevator” pitch, which should last no longer than the average elevator ride. With Zeh portraying the job hunter and Maker as the employer, they demonstrated the key elements. The job candidate should state their name, types of work that interest them, their classes or activities that relate to the position, relevant experience, and how their three top qualities will benefit the organization.
Highlights of their presentation are posted at Facebook.com/StMarysCreditUnionCareers.
Next, the young adults met representatives of local businesses, including Mike Fleek, the assistant store manager of Hannaford Supermarket in Marlborough, who also shared his work experience.
“Once you get your foot in the door, then you can find other openings,” he said. “I started as a grocery clerk. Our store manager, Dave DeJohn, started as a part-time assistant produce clerk. There are plenty of opportunities. It depends on your personal drive and what you want to do.”
Some young adults learned about the military as a possible work option from Sgt. Adam Harris of the local Marine Corps recruiting office.
“We offer over 350 technical studies,” he noted. “Myself personally, I's certified nationally as a firefighter through all the training I got with the Marine Corps. The intangible leadership qualities that are offered definitely give people a step ahead in the competitive business market nowadays.”
Job applicants were actively sought by Brenda Wheelock, a membership specialist with the Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.
“Series Pathway is a Girl Scout leadership experience that lasts for eight to 10 weeks,” she explained. “If I can find five young adults, 18-plus, here in Marlborough tonight to facilitate these programs, then I can give them 19 hours a week in their hometown.”
Deb Murray, a human resources administrative assistant at Marlborough Savings Bank, was impressed by the young adults she met that evening.
“They'se friendly, and they come right up and introduce themselves,” she said. “They'se been well-prepared.”
Many of the teens were accompanied by a supportive parent. George Dilling, a junior at Marlborough High School, attended because it was recommended by his mother, Anastasia.
“Looking for a job is a job,” she told him. “You have to put a lot of effort into it.”