A Massachusetts vocational school took an unorthodox spin on linking students with job opportunities through a so-called reverse career fair.
Held last Monday during regular school hours, the event hosted by Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton was unique in that businesses weren’t the ones setting up booths to attract candidates. Instead, companies and businesses visited vocational program booths to align on potential job opportunities.
“The benefits of a reverse career fair are that employers can see the students in the vocational program and the equipment or tools students are being trained on and meet the teachers in the programs,” Kimberly Poliseno, the school’s co-op coordinator, told Repairer Driven News.
“When businesses visit the reverse career fair, the benefit would be hopefully hiring a student or two through co-op or a potential employee after graduation.”
Some people might be unfamiliar with the concept of such reverse career fairs, which have emerged within the past few years as an alternative to traditional job fairs. They appear to be especially popular among universities which use them as a way for students and programs to demonstrate their skills to prospective employers.
The events also give businesses a way to “shop” for the best talent.
This is the second time Blue Hills has held such a fair. Last year’s event drew more than 100 people from about 60 companies.
Poliseno said she came up with this idea after noticing that during a traditional career fair, students weren’t visiting tables aligned to their skills, meaning they could miss out on potential opportunities.
According to Blue Hills, this year’s event attracted more than 40 professionals from 24 companies including those representing the automotive collision repair and refinishing and automotive technology sectors.
Students had a chance to demonstrate their skills to prospective employers by actively participating in vocational projects during the fair. The “reimagined career fair” also featured programs like HVAC, engineering technology, and computer information systems.
“Businesses register to visit the programs they would like to visit,” Poliseno said. “They have about a half hour in the program to talk about their company, open positions in the company, and the field in general. They can visit as many of our 17 vocational programs as they like.
“We like doing the career fair this way instead of a traditional career fair because businesses know what positions they have available so they go to those programs as opposed to a student, let’s say in HVAC, might only go to an HVAC company table and not go visit the health occupation companies like a nursing home or hospital that would have opportunities for an HVAC student. It is a win-win for everyone.”
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