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Youth get hands-on training in landing a job

Posted: September 25, 2012 6:33 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2012 6:33 p.m.

Anthony Michaelides, director of Career Services at College of the Canyons, discusses interviewing skills at the Youth Job Academy, held at the Santa Clarita Activities Center on Friday.

City officials are working with the local community college and a business organization to create a “brand” local business owners will seek out when hiring, officials said Tuesday.

With its first two-day Mini Job Fair and Job Academy wrapping up Friday, officials hope the program’s inaugural class of 27 job applicants will find employment right after they “graduate.”

“What we do is get them job-ready — teaching them how to dress, fill out an application, teaching them how to interview and then the follow-up,” said Susie Cordoba, program coordinator for Santa Clarita.

The program is available for anyone age 16-21 who is having a hard time finding a job, Cordoba said.

Last Friday, the participants heard from job-training experts such as Anthony Michaelides, director of career services at College of the Canyons Valencia campus.

The fair helps many first-time applicants recognize skills they may have honed from their hobby or high school experiences.

“This is about getting outside the box and looking at the big picture — ‘What am I able to do, and what am I good at and why am I good at it,’” Michaelides said.

Last week was all about classroom instruction for the job applicants, and this Friday, the job-seekers will get perhaps the biggest benefit, Cordoba said.

“I think that the most important thing they’re learning is what the employers are looking for, because I think teens don’t know how to answer interview questions,” Cordoba said. “So the mock interview is really the whole meat of the training.”

After the students receive their lessons, they’ll get a chance to test things out with a mock interview with representatives from the third side of the partnership, members of the Valley Industry Association, including local employers such as AMS Fulfillment, Mountasia, Old Navy and Exact Staffing.

The mock interviewers have been told to treat the applicants as they would a real candidate because those who complete a successful interview will receive a certificate that acknowledges the person is work-ready, Michaelides said.

“If they don’t interview well,” Michaelides said, “then they won’t get a certificate.”

The idea is to create a training program the will make business owners in the area want to take notice, Cordoba said.

“We’re hoping to have another job academy in the spring,” Cordoba said, “so we can prepare the youth for summer employment.”




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