Pittston Area student Gavin Thomas, 15, of Avoca, stops by the Rock Street Music table to play guitar with Rock Street owner Richie Kossuth looking on. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Bob Price, left, of Johnson Controls, gives Giana Neishman, 14, of Dupont, a try at putting out a mechanical fire with an electronic fire extinguisher. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Hannah Hapersberger, center, and Mariah Mahsky, right, both 14, of Pittston, stop by the Geisinger table with Geisinger recruiter Fred Pierantoni looking on. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
The Roselle twins Kristin, center, and Kayla, right, both 17, chat with Janine Hennigan, Luzerne Co. Transportation Authority human resources director. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Theresa Rose Goodwin, left, of CareerLink, helps Pittston Area student Nicholas, 15, of Pittston. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
YATESVILLE — Pittston Area High School students had a practice run ata real-life event they may encounter in the future – a job fair.
The Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with PA CareerLink Luzerne Co., Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board and Pittston Area School District, held the third annual Career Exploration Day April 26 at the Pittston Area High School gymnasium with 55 vendors participating.
Lisa Joyce, a Pittston Area business/computer information technology instructor who also teaches a career development class, got the idea of holding a job fair at Pittston Area after she attended one sponsored by the Wilkes-Barre Career Technology Center (CTC) four years ago.
“I thought this is something we could do at Pittston Area so I partnered with Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce and between myself, Michelle (Mikitish) and Brandi (Bartush), we then got involved with PA CareerLink,” Joyce added
Joyce went on to say more students are finding by the time they get to 12th grade, they still don’t have an idea about what they want to focus on in their future.
Michelle Mikitish, Chamber executive vice president, along with Brandi Bartush, Chamber administrator/events coordinator, were involved with planning and implementing the event from the beginning.
“This is the third event here at Pittston Area and I am excited about this one,” Mikitish said. “The flow is a little bit better and the vendors are content and we actually had more employers this year, so that is great.”
The Greater Pittston Chamber also assists the job fair in conjunction with the Wilkes-Barre CTC where the fair is focused on more technology careers whereas, the event at Pittston Area has more of a mix to include all students.
To prepare students, Mikitish and Christine Jensen, a member of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce executive board and an administrator with PA CareerLink, visited the high school the week before the fair, holding assemblies for grades 7 through 12 to prepare them for the upcoming exploration day.
“We went into the assemblies hoping to change the thought processes of the students about hunting down jobs,” Mikitish said. “A lot of people talk about northeastern Pennsylvania as a terrible declining place and it couldn’t be more false. We are growing and we have more jobs coming in all the time and we have bigger and better employers coming in seeking out our area. That’s exciting news and it’s good news for our kids.”
Twin sisters Kristin and Kayla Roselle, 17, were excited about the job fair.
“I like coming down and seeing all the different job options that there are around,” Kayla said.
“It’s really great to see all the different places that come here to show us what they do,” Kristen said. “Some of them even allow you to shadow them and learn some information about them.”
Both sisters plan to attend a four-year college after graduating from high school.
“They get better every year,” Joyce said of the third year for Career Exploration Day. “We’re getting like a well-oiled machine. It’s a lot of help from my volunteer students; we call them our student ambassadors and all the employers that are used to the process. We have questionnaires the students have to follow and get graded so every year we’re getting better at it – we have a system.”