By Erin O'Connor
AGAWAM - The Agawam High School cafeteria was a recruiting center on March 29 when area businesses waited on the arrival of high school students searching for summer employment.
"It is in their comfort zone," Debbie Hunter, the career center coordinator, said to Reminder Publications in describing the second annual Education Grows Business Job Fair in coordination with the Agawam Chamber of Commerce (ACC) and the Agawam School Department.
Area businesses that took part in the opportunity to sign up potential employees included Six Flags New England, Ben & Jerry's (that will integrated into the Six Flags Park), Baystate Health, Taylor Rental, Chez Josef, Genesis Health Care and others.
"This year we had seven to eight companies while last year we had four, so we are growing," Hunter said.
"This is a win-win situation," William Sapelli, the assistant superintendent, said. He added that it makes it easy for the students and provides advertising opportunity for the employers.
"I think it is important to establish a relationship with kids in high school to help them understand the importance of health career," Lisa Gordon, a recruiter for BayState Health, said.
Laurie Skole of Chez Josef said at last year's event her company ended up hiring "quite a few kids to work."
"You are able to see more students in a shorter period of time," Mark Gelinas of Taylor Rental said.
One student, Charlsey Mitchell, currently seeking summer employment, cheered her school's decision to have the job fair:
"That way you know what places are looking to hire," she said.
"It is a way to let kids know that getting old isn't scary," Kathy Stevens of Genesis HealthCare said in describing exposure at the job fair.