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Career Readiness Program teaches interview skills to sophomores

Date: 11/23/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM -- The summer of 2010 will be a busy time for current sophomores at Minnechaug Regional High School -- many of them will be 16 and looking for their first jobs.

To help the future members of local workforce, the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce offered to run a Career Readiness Program at Minnechaug, since the funding for the program through the school was cut this year.

Nov. 20 was Mock Interview Day, which Elissa Langevin, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, said was the biggest piece of the readiness program.

"We're committed to this program for a year," Langevin explained. "We teach classes on how to fill out an application and on interview skills. We feel this really helps them prepare for their first job."

Thirty-five local business men and women visited Minnechaug to host 10-minute interview sessions with students, half of which was actual interview; the other half was feedback from the "employer."

Jules Gaudreau of the Gaudreau Group interviewed Katie Farrell for a position at Dunkin' Donuts. During her interview, she and Gaudreau discussed her cooking and math skills, her future plans, her activities, what hours she would prefer to work and job duties. Farrell also asked about the training process, if she were to get the job.

"Your resume looks great. You are a very poised young woman, and you did a super job," Gaudreau told Farrell following the interview. He added that he thought she presented well, that she made good eye contact and that she showed a positive attitude without being "too bubbly or giggly."

He suggested that she also write up thank you letters to give to possible employers after future job interviews.

"It was really helpful," Farrell said after her session ended. "I feel like I know what to expect. I was nervous at first but I got more comfortable. I've never applied for a job before, but I feel confident about it now."

Langevin, who has two teenage children, had a child go through the program last year. "I realized how important the information was," she said. That's why she and the rest of the chamber wanted to bring the program back.

She added that the mock interviews were the most important thing for the sophomores to learn because that is "something most kids don't get exposed to."

The interviews took place from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the high school.

For more information on the programs the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce sponsors, visit www.myonline