This week, local companies, including WTVM, are helping dozens of students prepare for college and the workforce.
Wednesday, volunteers from WTVM conducted mock interviews with students at Shaw High School, as a part of the Muscogee County Partner in Education program.
At the event, businesses connect with schools to help mentor and develop youth, activities and partnerships between the schools and companies. For students, it provides great exposure and insight into local businesses.
Christian Jackson is a senior at Shaw High and has already been accepted to Albany State.
"Everyone's going to have to do job interviews and Shaw is just trying to prepare students for those situations," she says.
Students ranged from ninth through twelfth grade and had to submit a resume and application, as well as be assessed and graded on their performance.
Students made sure to dress in business-casual clothing, so they were already interview-ready. They were were rated on their professionalism, neatness, grammar and confidence, among other traits.
"I feel like this has prepared me for the next level, I'm ready for a real job interview and the next level, I want to go to college and you're going to have to interview for colleges and things such as that so I feel like I'm very prepared now," says Jackson.
This is the second year in a row for this project for this school and the organizer spoke to us about why it’s so important to start early. “As part of our career and technical education department, as well as FBLA, one of our standards and one of our units is teaching them about careers and how to be employable, and so we are offering them a mock interview from business professionals today.” Dr. Michelle Nichols says, the Business and Career and Technical Education (CTAE) teacher and FBLA advisor.
Many of the participants are also members of the Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA, which also helps build up and prepare citizens who can effectively guide and manage once they enter the so-called “real world.”
Questions included everything from your basic "tell me about yourself" to "what would your teachers say about you?" and "what do you bring to the table that would put you above the rest?"
Nichols says students prepared for about two weeks with an online curriculum portion that focused on professionalism when it comes to clothing and piercings.
They also learned about the process of finding a job opening, reviewed resume templates and researched questions to formulate answers. Although advisors don’t want to teach anyone to quit a job, students also studied proper resignation procedures.
Nichols says many ask about pay. "They don’t necessarily want ‘entry-level’ wages, but I told them that’s where they will start," she says.
Nichols says the professionals help the professors reinforce what they teach in FBLA, and now students will process the feedback they received from the volunteers.
Many of the senior students have already been accepted to several colleges and freshmen say it’s a great way to get a jump start on thinking about where they’ll apply for college and what they’ll study.
"I'm glad that people around the community want to come and help us out. I think it's a very good thing because we're the next generation. We are going to have to do job interviews. We are going to have to be the next people working in the community," says Jackson.