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The City Journals

St. John the Baptist students learn real-life job-seeking skills

May 30, 2017 11:38AM ● By Julie Slama

St. John the Baptist fifth-grade students participated in mock interviews with a human resource leadership team from Master Control in preparation for their day at Junior Achievement City. (Nevah Stevenson/St. John the Baptist Elementary School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
St. John the Baptist fifth-graders put their best foot forward as they put their job-seeking skills to the test.
After learning how to fill out a job application, create a resume and practice interview techniques, the students met with the human resource leadership team from Master Control, who conducted mock interviews, all in preparation for the students’ day downtown at the Junior Achievement (JA) City.
“We want to give our students the skills in knowing how to best present themselves that will help them when they apply for jobs, be interviewed for a college scholarship and any time interpersonal skills are needed,” said fifth-grade teacher Janet Tetzloff. “Right now, the students are learning the impact that can be made in these mock interviews.”
Tetzloff, who has taught 10 years, said that learning about job-seeking skills ties into the Junior Achievement curriculum.
“They learn about economics as they take roles in a mock city, but we want them to also learn about how to get a job. Students had more of a real-life experience by having professionals conduct the interviews. They learned the responsibility of needing to be prepared. Many students were nervous as they dressed in business attire and practiced with mock questions, but others said it was less nerve-wracking to be in the interview than to prepare for it. In fact, they’re ready to do another one,” she said.
Some years, Tetzloff and other teachers have interviewed students, but this year, Master Control’s Vice President of Corporate Operations and Human Resources Alicia Garcia offered first to give students tips when filling out an application as well as other advice, such as maintaining conversation during the interview, before participating in the mock interviews.
Garcia said it also educates students about the role of human resources and about what they can do now to prepare for the workforce.
“When I was in school, I never knew what human resources did,” Tetzloff said. “So I Iet them know about what we do as well as help them put together a resume and learn how to apply for a job. I stress three important messages: stay in school, stay away from drugs and try not to get into trouble. Those are what interviewers look at — their highest level of schooling, if they pass a drug test and their background screening. I hope we help them realize they should think twice about what decisions they make.”
In the mock interviews, Garcia and her team asked questions that may be asked in real-life interviews, but on a fifth-grade level.
“We asked why they are interested in the position at JA City, what one thing they can do to improve themselves, three words to describe themselves and about their extra-curricular activities and how they are a leader or a follower in those. We look at what they say, but also how they say it — if they look us in the eye and greet us with a firm handshake,” she said.
Although the human resources team doesn’t make decisions about the roles the students have at JA City, they do provide feedback that will help the students in future interviews.
“We want them to dive into success, to have that engaging smile, to be comfortable talking about their strengths and presenting themselves. There are some amazing, talented students,” she said.
Tetzloff said that at JA City students learn more about the real world and work responsibility, such as fulfilling vacant jobs.
“They may get there to learn that one of their team members is sick and the job still needs to happen even if someone is absent. They may learn it takes more than 20 minutes at lunch to bank, eat and shop so they learn to prioritize. Meanwhile, they’re balancing their business while running it, learning about advertisements or loan applications and getting that real-life experience in running a town. It’s a wonderful opportunity and by preparing students, we’re extending that experience even more,” she said.