Summer Employment Job Fair Draws Hundreds of Students<br>

Staff photo by Philip Wright

Students from Verde Valley and Sedona schools registered Thursday night at the YESS Job Fair at Riverfront Park.

Students and employers got together at the Job Fair, which gave employers an opportunity to interview students right on the spot for summer jobs. Students and employers may also call the Yavapai Workforce Connection at 634-3337, at any time to sign up with jobs and/or job applications.

Employers from throughout the Verde Valley signed on for a chance to hire the summer help they need simply by taking part in the Job Fair and taking the opportunity to hire YESS students.

"We had students from all area high schools and some middle schools," said Linda Buhl, Career and Technical Education coordinator at Sedona Red Rock High School, who was volunteering at the registration table. "We even had kids from as far away as Mayer."

Lining up to complete applications and interview, students and employers were also treated to hamburgers and hot dogs, cold drinks and chips courtesy of Verde Valley Medical Center, Shamrock Foods, Frito-Lay and Pepsi. Slaving over a hot grill was no fun in the late afternoon sun, but VVMC director of dietary services Rich Crowell and his able crew of volunteers had smiles on their faces nonetheless.

"We are doing this for the kids," said Russ Black of Redi Help, who was flipping burgers. "They are our future." Naomi Black, also of Redi Help, manned their booth to interview students for potential jobs. "Even though we don't place a lot of people at minimum wage because most of our jobs pay more," said Naomi Black, "we want young people to know that by registering with us they can enhance their chances at employment because every day at Redi Help is new and exciting. When the phone rings, you never know what the request will be."

Redi Help was among the major sponsors of the Job Fair, according to Margie Beach.

"This is totally a coordinated effort. The entire group and several other community-minded organizations helped out," said Beach, who volunteered her efforts representing Salt River Materials Group/Phoenix Cement. "The YESS group, comprised of all three of the area high schools, the Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education District, Yavapai College, the Yavapai Workforce Connection and area businesses got together and pulled it off with the help of lots of donations from all over the Verde Valley."

The City of Cottonwood helped out by donating the space at Riverfront Park and Yavapai Broadcasting put on a live remote to help spread the word and get willing workers hooked up with employers needing help.

Among the employers represented were Arbys, Arizona Furniture, the AZ National Guard, Bashas, Blimpies, the Camp Verde Adult Reading Program, Central Heating and Cooling in Rimrock, the Coconino Natioal Forest Youth Conservation Corps, Cottonwood Metal Products, Dr. Bill Guth, Enchantment Resort, Farmers Insurance, Food City, Frys, the GAP Outlet, Griffith Enterprises, Harkins Theaters, Infinia, J. C. Penney, Kachine Point Health, Kids Quest, L'Auberge, Los Abrigados, Menace Board Shop, Murphy's Grill, New Frontiers, Office Max, Planet Video, Prendiville Eye Center, Redi Help, Safeway, Super 8, Taco Bell, Biddle Outdoor Center, Big O, Little Lisa's, Mold in Graphics, Osco, Rokzoo, the Town of Clarkdale, United Way, Trueline Enterprises, Verde Veterinary Hospital, VVMC, Wal Mart, Wendy's and YES, the Arc.

YESS volunteer and program coordinator, Fred Dorfman of Mingus Union High School noted that the "lines were long, but the spirits willing" in the midst of the Job Fair. "What we learned and the doors we opened can lead us to important changes on how we help young people to learn and grow in the workplace. The comments from parents and kids alike have been very positive. Very few complaints, mostly ideas and suggestions."

We need to encourage young people not to give up if they did not connect with a job. The "YESS to Youth" program is not a one-time event, but a campaign in the truest sense. We will not rest until every kid who wants to work is provided an opportunity to do so."

For those who didn't get a chance to attend the Job Fair, the YESS group reminds all students, ages 14 to 19, that they can still sign up for summer employment at the Yavapai Workforce Connection.

"There are still jobs available," said Dave Beach, of the Yavapai Workforce Connection. "We encourage students to come by and fill out an application or to follow up if they were not chosen during the Job Fair." Adults of all ages are also encouraged to sign up with the Yavapai Workforce Connection if they are seeking employment at any time.

All businesses and individuals that anticipate needing summer help, whether it be part-time, occasionally, or for just a one time need, may contact the Yavapai Workforce Connection. Please call, (928) 634-3337 and say "YESS to Youth," to list a job or for further information.

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