Columbus Public Schools knows collaboration is an essential element to student success, especially during the transition from school.  A great example of that collaboration is a recent job fair aimed at graduating seniors.

Area businesses partnered with Columbus High School (CHS), Nebraska VR, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and the Department of Labor to host the fair that provided an opportunity for students to find a good fit for their skills, and gave businesses a chance to recruit the next generation for the workforce.

CHS joined the job fair as part of the Columbus community’s Drive 4 Five Initiative.

“The purpose of the Drive 4 Five Initiative is to recruit and retain a skilled workforce in the community of Columbus. This encompasses not only recruiting individuals to fill current workforce needs but also enhancing education and preparing students for post-secondary education or the workforce,” says CHS STEM Career Coordinator Heidi Elliott.

School staff also regularly visit area businesses to identify needs, future plans, and to brainstorm opportunities for tours and visits with the goal to ensure student success while meeting local industry needs.

“We targeted seniors going into the workforce to attend the job fair in order to give them true exposure to what is available to them in a few short weeks.  We want success for our students during and after high school,” says Elliott.

The opportunity worked for many of the students, like Anthony Rayman, who attended the event.  Rayman is already an apprentice electrician and is now looking for an employer who can use his skills.

“It’s extremely important to have events like this. I can see what’s out there and find a fit that’s perfect for me,” says Rayman.

Ariana Gutierrez is not as sure about what she wants to do, but she is interested in the medical field.  The fair provided exposure to local opportunities and a lot of information to help her decide what avenue to pursue after graduation.

“This event is really important for me.  I learned more about some of the businesses. It really helps that we had the time to be here to help find our next step,” says Gutierrez.

More than 30 businesses participated in the job fair and several have plans to make visits to the high school to recruit other seniors.

Organizers plan on making the job fair an annual tradition and believe it will continue to grow in the years to come.