The Three Village Industry Advisory Board didn’t let a pandemic get in the way of its annual career fair for secondary school students in the school district.
On Jan. 14, the board, a partnership between the district and local businesses, presented its third annual career fair. The event gave students the opportunity to talk to local professionals after they took a “career DNA” test analysis to discover their strengths. However, instead of stopping by tables set up by business representatives, the teenagers checked into Google Meet sessions to take part in 20-minute seminars where professionals presented a quick overview of what their careers entailed and then gave the students a chance to ask questions.
To help participants to choose which sessions to attend, the career DNA results assigned each student a color for various strengths and businesses were also assigned the colors.
Ilene Littman, 3V-IAB coordinator and Ward Melville High School business teacher, said the fair provided students in grades 7-12 an opportunity “to explore and learn about careers in a virtual format.” This year 308 students registered, and 21 businesses participated. Students had the opportunity to learn about banking, real estate, dentistry, the medical and financial fields and more.
“Students navigated the virtual career fair based on their career DNA, which was matched up to businesses that shared similar traits to ensure those occupations/professions are uniquely suitable for each student,” Littman said. “Using this online platform to interact with business professionals was also excellent practice because it is most likely how today’s students will be screened in the initial stage of the interview process once they are ready to embark on their job searches to enter their chosen fields.”
Alan Baum, the school district’s executive director of Secondary Curriculum and Human Resources, said he was grateful for the work Littman put into organizing the event that he described as “tremendous.”
“Orchestrating such an event is difficult enough but bringing it to fruition during the pandemic and reimagining it as a virtual career fair was a herculean task,” he said.
Baum added he was also grateful for committee co-chair Michael Ardolino and all of the participating businesses that helped with the virtual career fair. Ardolino is also the founder and owner of Team Ardolino/Realty Connect USA.
“I am thrilled that we were able to provide our secondary students the opportunity to engage with a diverse representation of the business community in our continuing effort to help the students explore future career paths,” Baum said.
Ardolino said it was interesting to see the conversations that were going on in the different sessions and how well the virtual platform worked and could possibly lead to smaller presentations in the future such as a business owner talking about how to manage the company’s money and more.
Mike Lawton of Element Energy LLC noted there were more participants than he thought there would be, and the virtual format was perfect.
“I had some excellent questions from the students, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.