Annual fair helps students find a career path


PITTSFIELD -- Just because school will soon be out for summer doesn't mean students should stop thinking about their academic careers and future in the workplace.

Last Friday, Pittsfield High School and the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center partnered, for a third year, to present a college and career readiness fair for underclassmen at the school.

The event is typically scheduled the day after the junior-senior prom, when there tends to be low attendance of upperclassmen and teachers who chaperoned the event. Organizer and Brig ham Center program officer Kristen Shepard son, said the event gives substitute teachers something productive to do with the students and gives students the opportunity to get a head start thinking about life after high school.

"We're focused on helping kids find career paths," said Shepardson, who also coordinates year-round college and career readiness activities for the center's Teen Outreach Program.

Friday's fair included representatives from six colleges and six employers to give students some perspectives.

Charlie Spence was among the dozens of students who were introduced to and created a profile on a website called Jobsy Wobsy. CEO Jason Morin said he got the idea for the site while working with students at the Boys & Girls Harbor in Harlem, N.Y.

"Kids were always forgetting or losing their resumes and panicked when they'd have to go for a job interview," said Morin. He and his team developed, a place where students can explore a list of hundreds of careers, create an online resume, practice filling out a job application and more. It also contains resources for teachers and parents.

Spence said he appreciated the website and the college and career fair. "It's good to have something around here so students can see what's out there," he said.

The student also said there are school staff members, like his math teacher Mallory Zahn, who are willing to help guide students and answer their questions. "Even though she teaches math, she's willing to give us time to talk about other subjects like this, which is nice," Spence said.

Jobsy Wobsy President Bert Gamberdella of Pittsfield said he's worked in job recovery programs counseling adults, who often lacked and idea or passion about what they wanted to do for a vocation.

"That's why we need to help kids better figure out what they want to do early on," said Morin.

PHS junior Jacinda Griffith is one student who does know exactly what she wants to do in life. "I want to be a mortician," she said.

A member of the Teen Outreach Program at the Brigham center, Shepardson and others helped Griffith start last year looking into programs of study and connecting her with a former Pittsfield guidance counselor, who knew of colleges that might help the young woman pursue her interest.

Griffith, in turn, has helped the Teen Outreach Program and Jobsy Wobsy -- which piloted its site locally at the center and at Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth in nearby Canaan, N.Y. -- to develop its programs; Jobsy Wobsy even added the field of mortuary science to its listings in honor of Griffith.

Though there wasn't a vast range of jobs and colleges at the fair, some students said it got their attention.

"It's amazing to think about what's out there," said freshman Sahra Abderrahim.

"It's good to get into looking at things now, so you're ready for the real world," Griffith said.


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