SPC’s Collegiate High School seeks to prepare their students for the world of work. Not only are Collegiate High School students tasked with completing all five modules of the Focus 2 career assessment so they better understand who they are and what they want from life and careers, but they are also coached on how to dress for success, answer tricky job interview questions, and learn how to research careers.
When students graduate from high school, they are propelled to go to college. The moment potential scholars apply to a college, they are advised to select a major/program plan. Career counselors have pondered the absence of steps in the career exploration process of college students. Today, students appear to squeeze themselves into a career that may or may not fit instead of finding the job that fits students’ aptitudes, values, and work interests. Likewise, scholars need to know how to use their wiles to successfully prepare for job interviews and land themselves jobs.
On Thursday, March 31, a team of SPC Career Navigators partnered with Collegiate High School to give their seniors a chance to experience a five-minute job interview with local industry professionals in five different industries: technology, medical, education, business and general. Additionally, students learned how to conduct an informational interview, to better examine if working in a particular industry provides a good fit.
This Collegiate Career Navigators team consisted of St. Pete Gibbs Campus‘ Career & Academic Advisors Dwayne Climes, Yulonder Betts, Melinda Daun, and Nikki Hall, who formed the team to complete their Career Development Facilitator (CDF) capstone project. Starla Metz, the principal for Collegiate High School, found an immediate need for their high school seniors to practice job interviews, gain networking skills, and conduct informational interviews. Team Collegiate Career Navigators found a way to fit all three into an hour and a half long event.
Dwayne Climes and Nikki Hall successfully recruited ten local professionals, representing each of the five fields students selected in advance. Weeks prior to the event, team leader, Yulonder Betts and Melinda Daun presented to the eighty-four seniors pertaining to event preparation in areas such as the do’s and don’ts of dressing for success, the importance of networking, methods of answering precarious interview questions, and assisting students with the selection of their informational interview questions to ask the panel of career professionals towards the end of the event.
On event day, forty-eight well-prepped Collegiate High seniors, donning their best interview wear and resumes, participated in check-in processes and five minute interviews given by industry virtuosos such as Nicole Nix, the Operations Manager from Kobie Marketing, Inc, Chris Graham from G.E (General Electrics), Art Diston, the Network Administrator for WTOG TV CW 44/CBS, and Saunya Talley, a former Pinellas County educator. Student Volunteer, Amy Butler, a Treasure Island resort wedding planner, herded groups of students by industry to check-in processes and to Dwayne Climes who directed students to their five-minute practice interviews. Following the interviews, the seniors, volunteers, and local professionals networked together over pizza. Nikki Hall moderated the panel of volunteer local professionals, who answered student informational interview questions.
Following the informational interview panel session, the professionals offered seniors feedback on their interviews along with heartfelt career advice. Chris Graham from G.E, advised the seniors to “Find out what you’re passionate about and then find a way to make money doing what you love.” Art Diston, the Network Administrator for 44/CBS advised the students that there is a huge demand for women in the technology field and that they are regularly looking to hire females. Other interviewers praised the seniors for their interview efforts–some claimed there were seniors that would be hired on the spot if the interviews had been real.