Ben Franklin teams up with local professionals for mock interviews
Thirty-three local business professionals teamed up with the Ben Franklin Junior High to provide eighth-grade students an opportunity to practice their interviewing skills Tuesday, May 23, at the Portage County Business Council.
The interviews were part of the College and Career Readiness course final exam, and students learned more than just how to tweak their resumes.
“We practice not only the written and one-to-one communication skills our students need to be successful in the interview process, but the details of making a good first impression, too,” said Kate Kaster, business teacher at Ben Franklin Junior High School.
Art Greco, business teacher at Ben Franklin, also highlighted the importance of helping students finesse their “soft skills.”
“We learn the importance of presenting our best selves, tying ties, ironing clothes, shaking hands, introducing ourselves; we focus on putting our best foot forward, and the students do a great job,” Greco said.
Junior Achievement (JA) volunteers invested time ahead of the mock interviews with a seven-week course titled, “JA It’s My Future” in the classroom and working with students as they prepared.
“Many business owners tell us they can teach the technical aspects of the job but it is the soft skills they see as missing in their new employees,” said Serena Sblendorio, Junior Achievement district director. “As we prepare these young people for their futures we have the ability to inspire and teach them so they are able to succeed. I believe the experiences between ‘JA It’s My Future’ and the mock interviews are helping to do just that.”
The mock interviews were made possible with support from Junior Achievement and Partners in Education, a program of the Portage County Business Council Foundation.
“Many of the interviewers were impressed by the professionalism and caliber of these eighth-grade students,” said Kayla Rombalski, director of talent development at the Portage County Business Council. “Partners in Education programming, such as mock interviews, is a unique opportunity for the Business Council and the District to connect the business community with our future employees.”