Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) said his first job working at a pool over the summer formed a lot of his work ethic.
“First jobs are critical,” he said. “I learned what a job was, what working for a living was. We need to provide the opportunity to do that for our kids.”
Beginning this weekend will be the third year of teen job fairs for young people in Fairfax County. In 2015, Herrity and Pat Malone came up with the idea to host a fair, meeting an unmet need by bringing together employers and young job-seekers together in a single location to meet face-to-face.
2017 Teen Job Fair Dates
• Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Chantilly High School, 4201 Stringfellow Road in Chantilly.
Co-sponsored by Supervisor Kathy Smith, Chantilly HS STEM Academy, and Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Saturday, March 18, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road in Vienna.
Co-sponsored by Supervisor Linda Smyth and Oakton HS Marketing Department
• Saturday, April 1, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., West Springfield High School, 6100 Rolling Road in West Springfield.
Co-sponsored by West Springfield HS Student Government Association and Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
• Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., South County High School, 8501 Silverbrook Road in Lorton.
Co-sponsored by Supervisor Dan Storck, South Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, South County Federation, and South County Secondary School
Malone, who lives in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria, said a first job can set the foundation for where you want to go in life.
“Where your mindset is,” Malone said, “What you have some energy to wake up for in the morning, to get started, to do for the day, to conduct your life.”
Whether young people stay with the job for a long time or move on to something else, the experiences in a first, or even second or third job, are meaningful in building career skills.
“It’s working together with a team of people, working with the public,” said Malone. “You want to do a good job, and use it as a springboard.”
Nancy-jo Manney, president of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, which is a co-sponsor of the job fair being held April 1 at West Springfield High School, said the fairs are also extremely valuable for businesses to attend.
Getting a diverse group of young potential employees together in one room is much more effective than placing ads in the newspaper or online, Manney said. It’s also free for them to attend, and gives them access to potential workers who are local to their business locations.
“If your company has part-time positions, and or is looking to hire summer employees in Fairfax County,” Manney said, “it’s a no-brainer to attend.”
The first teen job fair in 2015 was held at West Springfield and brought in around 350 students who met with employers and filled out job applications. Last year, the fair expanded to Chantilly High School.
Just at Chantilly, they added a workshop for helping job applicants write and build a resume. With the success of that program, it’s being added to all four locations of the 2017 job fair. At each location, there will be two such seminars.
So far this year, Herrity said at least 700 teens are pre-registered across the four job fairs, which also include dates at Oakton High School and South County High School. Pre-registration online isn’t a job application and isn’t any type of commitment; it just connects the teen with fair updates and resources, and gives employers an idea of how many people to expect.
For teens attending the fair, Manney said first impressions are important, so dress professionally.
It doesn’t have to be a suit and tie, or dress, but teens should have on clean, dress clothing: no saggy pants or short tops or skirts.
Though not every employer at the fair will be looking to interview and hire people that day, “It’s that visual that people are going to remember,” Manney said.
Herrity expects at least 40 employers at each of the job fairs, offering not just part-time or summer employment, but also full-time, after school, internships and volunteer opportunities.
For more information and to register either as a student or a business, visitwww.fairfaxcounty.gov/springfield/teenjobfair.htm.