When seniors from Blackman and Holloway high schools go to school April 6, they may come home with a new job.
Through a partnership with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Blackman is hosting the county’s first “High School Hiring Fair,” and the event will feature multiple companies and local businesses who want to meet with graduating students from both schools.
It’s not unusual for high schools to host career fairs, but the event at Blackman is unique, said Beth Duffield, vice president for work force development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce fields calls each year from employers who want to hire local graduates.
“Other than having the business contact a school directly and set up a table in the cafeteria, we have never had a forum for connecting high school seniors, who are interested in finding part time or full time employment, with the hundreds of employers in Rutherford County who are actively hiring.
“The High School Hiring Event is unique because this is the first time we’ve intentionally brought seniors and business together for hopefully a mutually beneficial outcome,” Duffield added. “This event ties directly to one of the Chamber’s workforce strategic initiatives related to youth employment and increasing the labor participation rate in Rutherford County.”
The event will be held at Blackman but will also involve seniors from Holloway High School, who will travel to the event that morning. The principals from both Murfreesboro schools have been meeting monthly with other event partners to plan every detail.
Students have also been getting lessons on how to prepare a resume, and the school is hosting resume workshops with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to help students refine their materials before meeting with employers. To participate, seniors must have resumes to distribute and be dressed for an interview.
In all, there are approximately 60 employers signed up for the event and others will likely be added before April 6. To participate in the event, employers must have jobs ready to fill.
All students, regardless of their plans after high school, will benefit from the hiring fair, Duffield said.
“Currently in Rutherford County, we have a 63 percent college-going rate,” Duffield explained. “We want those students who currently don’t have a post-high-school plan to be exposed to meaningful job options. And even for those who are attending one of our local post-secondary institutions, around 75 percent work at least part time while attending college.”
If the event is successful, there are hopes to add other local high schools.
“I would love to make this an annual event and expand from just two schools,” Duffield said. “We will evaluate this event from the school, student and employer perspective to find out what worked and what can be improved. Based on this feedback, if there are other schools who are interested in holding a hiring event next April, we would be happy to work with them.”
To learn more about this year’s event, including the ongoing list of employers who will participate, go to: https://1.cdn.edl.io/4DG0Ex7JmddC6aq0WPn24riPELBMJwhT2HeCpA2qJrilaT47.pdf.
The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (615) 893-6565.