August 2014
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: 4-H Career Fair

  Delana Spencer, MAX, discussing getting a CDL license.

A.H. Parker High School
Presents Students With Career Options

4-H Health Rocks is a healthy-living program helping youth develop life skills in the areas of critical thinking, decision making, communication, managing feelings, stress management and goal setting.

Sponsored by the National 4-H Council, Health Rocks also includes components that bring youth and adults together as partners in developing community strategies preparing young people to make healthy lifestyle choices and positive workforce development.

The 4-H Health Rocks program at A.H. Parker High School tapped into a conversation about the career interests of the participants. The conversation inspired the students to research jobs.

Jermaine Johnson, Regions, discussing saving money with the students.  

One student, Tamara Austin, 16 years old, said, "I wish the job market could tell us about careers."

The students made suggestions of areas they were interested in, and we invited corporations to attend. Two months later, the A.H. Parker 4-H Career Fair came into fruition.

Students in the 4-H Health Rocks program and juniors and seniors at the school visited the different vendors. As the students visited, they filled out a questionnaire about the different jobs in today’s society.

For those students interested in commercial bus driving, Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority Human Resources Assistant Delana Spencer with MAX (metro area express) encouraged them to go ahead and get their driver’s license so they will be well trained in the art of driving when they have to prepare to get their CDL licenses to drive a bus.

Alabama’s Career Center System Unit Supervisor Cheryl Oliver Williams encouraged the seniors to visit her at her office to discuss summer employment. Regions Bank, private business owners, Alabama Power, McDonalds, the Navy and the Forestry Commission were just a few of the career tracks that were invited.

  Donald Taylor, enlisted programs recruiter, giving information about joining the Navy.

Lashelle Webb, U.S. Army recruiter, talked to the students about joining the Army and completing basic training the summer of their senior year so they could get a jump start on their military career.

Cosmetology students also joined in on the fun. The students set up a booth in the gym with the other vendors, styled each other’s hair and talked to their fellow classmates about the cosmetology track they were on. After the career fair, Principal Darryl Hudson allowed the cosmetology students to have a hair show for the student body to showcase the styling methods they had learned in class.

The 4-H career fair was the first career fair the majority of the students had ever attended. They were excited to be able to meet people in the community who make a difference. Several students commented that they were happy to see the numerous vendors at their school, some of whom were graduates of the school. Careers such as horticulture and working from home that the students had not imagined and they were very interested in conversing with those vendors.

Audrea Henson, owner of Danno’s Deli, was so inspired that she stayed after the career fair to help write a basic business plan for several students who were interested in starting their own business.

The fair was such a success that School Counselors Rhonda Fowlkes and Celeste Rodgers want to make it an annual event. Tentative dates for the next school year have been set.

The 4-H Health Rocks program met six times at the school. Students discussed the importance of being a positive role model. They took turns being a negative role model and a positive role model in their communities. Students also participated in decision-making activities and discussed the importance of managing stress. Stress busters such as listening to music and laughing were some of their favorites.

Izette McNealy is a regional 4-H agent for Jefferson and Walker counties.