Batavia High School will be taking a new approach to the traditional career fair concept.
Last month, the school began what is called the “career lunch series,” which places students in proximity with professionals from fields that interest them. Then, over lunch, the high school seniors can get to know that person and understand their jobs a little easier.
“What we did is we took various occupations and divided them up among six clusters,” said Batavia High School Librarian Cathy Baker. “We’re trying to get as many participants as possible from those clusters to come, and our first cluster was health and our next will be engineering and technologies. The participants will come in for an hour and basically eat lunch with the kids. They can talk about their careers.”
Baker said that the concept was developed based on the dubious nature of how effective a job fair can be. Typically, the fair just thrusts students into a brief proximity with a range of career paths, with little chance for interactivity. The luncheon, she said, gives kids a chance to form a relationship and get a better idea of what that profession entails.
“In the past, we had done career fairs, but we weren’t sure how effective they were,” said Baker. “You just have a lot of kids in a big auditorium. We thought this would be more personal. Seniors are signing up for the cluster they are interested in. It’s more of a one-to-one for the students and professionals, so they can converse and talk. It’s more informal.”
The first series dealt with the field of health, and featured a number of professionals who work in healthcare. On Nov. 2, a luncheon on engineering and technology will be held and will feature everything from architects to welders. The students will meet with their prospective career representatives for about an hour over lunch, and may, in the future, be given a chance to job shadow.
“We had surveys for the participants and the students,” said Baker. “They were really enthusiastic and really excited. It went well. We learned that we are going to try and offer the students some shadowing to the people who were here, so they can contact them and maybe go beyond the luncheon.”
Upcoming themes include human and public services, business and information systems, arts and humanities, and natural and agricultural sciences.
For more information on the lunch series, or to volunteer to participate, call Baker at the high school at (513) 732-2341 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.