Saturday, October 13, 2012

Middle Schoolers to Receive a Headstart on Career Planning

Some 250 sixth-graders will receive real-world insights into finding that all-important career path when representatives of the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College, the El Dorado County Office of Education, and the El Dorado Union High School District present a “You’re Hired” career-awareness event Friday, Oct. 26.

Hosted by the El Dorado Center in Placerville, the lunchtime presentation will feature mock interviews with area companies, as well as the chance to meet with more than 20 exhibitors who will be on hand to raise the students’ awareness of technical career and job-skill development opportunities.

Organized by current and former teachers Julie Donner, Michelle Bliss, and Azar Sadrian – all experts in what motivates and excites middle-school students – the mock job interviews have been thoughtfully designed into group situations (with as many as five students per team) to avoid putting a single student “on the spot.” Those teams of middle school students who excel in their oral interviews will be “hired” in a lunchtime ceremony and have the opportunity to win career-exploration software for their school.

The interviewing teams will use their creativity to create a “model job candidate,” or avatar – a concept very familiar to young, video-game-savvy students.  The interview teams/avatars will be provided with interview questions in advance, and know with which companies they’ll be interviewing, so they have the time to research the company, job description, and required job skills ahead of time.

“This is the third time we’ve held a ‘You’re Hired’ event at the El Dorado Center,” said Dale van Dam, dean of instruction at the El Dorado Center. “We’ve tried other career exposition formats and had good response, but our experience tells us that events like these are even more engaging for student participants. The students will be responsible for their own learning to prepare for the interview experience, and it provides a familiarity with the local college campus.”

Jeremy Meyers, deputy superintendent of the El Dorado County Office of Education, said, “We believe this event is a great opportunity for students to practice many of the skills they’re learning as part of their regular curriculum. They’ll be writing resumes, doing applied research, practicing their verbal presentation skills, and learning about local employers.  It is a great way for them to get a glimpse of what life is like after school.”

Chris Moore, assistant superintendent of the El Dorado Union High School District, noted, “The organizers are especially grateful to local employers for their participation; without them, the event could not happen.”

Teachers Donner, Bliss, and Sadrian have been instrumental in recruiting middle-school classes to participate, training teachers, working with interviewers and exhibitors, and making sure that the event is fun and challenging, without being overwhelming, for middle school students. “Without their guidance, we would have an event that adults might like, but that might not appeal to students,” said Meyers.

“You’re Hired” is funded by the Governor’s Career Technical Education Initiative, a grant intended to promote career technical education awareness for middle school, high school and post-secondary students in El Dorado County. For more information, please contact Shannon Clark at (530) 642-5624 or

A member of the Los Rios Community College District, Folsom Lake College serves approximately 8,700 students at the main Folsom campus, El Dorado Center and Rancho Cordova Center. For more information on Folsom Lake College, please visit

Blog Post information and picture courtesy of Folsom Lake College.

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