Naperville event looks to line up teens with summer jobs
By Jane Donahue For The Sun March 16, 2013 7:46PM
Ryan Oshaughnessy 16, of Naperville receives feedback on his interview skills from "KidsMatter" volunteer Hellen Wojtowicz on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 during the "KidsMatter" job fair at North Central College in Naperville IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
If you go
What: The 2013 KidsMatter Student Job Fair
Who: Aimed at students, ages 16 and up. There are limited opportunities for 14- and 15-year-olds, and information regarding work permits will be available.
Where: Merner Fieldhouse on the campus of North Central College, 450 S. Brainard St. in Naperville
When: Tuesday, March 19, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
More information: Visit www.KidsMatter2us.org or contact Bridget Hatch at Bridget@KidsMatter2us.org or 630.527.6562.
Updated: March 17, 2013 4:39PM
Area teens don’t have to wait for summer to start searching for summer employment, thanks to the annual KidsMatter Student Job Fair being held Tuesday at Merner Field House on the campus of North Central College in Naperville.
“The job fair provides the opportunities for young people to engage in employment experiences that will build their self-confidence (while) teaching them responsibility and the foundations of money management,” said IdaLynn Wenhold, executive director of KidsMatter, a Naperville not-for-profit organization. “These values and skills are essential, and will empower these students to become tomorrow’s leaders.”
In its seventh year, the job fair connects students with more than 40 area businesses under one roof. All attendees will receive a resource booklet to take home that includes available job listings and employer contact information.
“It’s exciting to see the economy growing again, and it’s critical that we include young people in that turnaround,” Wenhold said. “Empowering our youth through job opportunities is one of the most important experiences leading to a productive career.”
She said the job fair is “not only a win for kids, but it’s also a win for area businesses.”
“Participating in the fair can save employers hundreds of work hours that would otherwise be spent reviewing job applications and conducting interviews,” Wenhold said. “At the fair, employers have the opportunity to look their prospective employees straight in the eye and gauge their people skills, enthusiasm, and other qualities they may be searching for.”
Gerri Chaplin agrees. The owner of a Culver’s restaurant in Aurora said the fair is a great opportunity “for us to get our name in front of local high school students and try to recruit some of them for our restaurant.”
“I am a firm believer in youth employment,” said Chaplin, a former high school and community college teacher. “We have been part of the KidsMatter Job Fair for many years, and have always found very high quality applicants coming through the fair.”
Chaplin, who has owned the restaurant on South Route 59 for 15 years, said teens make up a large part of her evening and weekend workforce, and the fair makes it easy to connect with youth.
“We are always looking for people who are friendly and outgoing and really interested in taking care of our guests,” said Chaplin, of Plainfield. “We look for good team members that we can add to our staff.”
Kim Berry, 18, is one of those team members. The senior at Waubonsie Valley High School landed her current position at Culver’s after attending the fair in March 2011.
“I would definitely recommend the job fair to a friend,” said Berry. “There are so many options there and it’s any easy way to look for jobs.”
The fair is supported by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by The DuPage Community Foundation, McDonald’s, Klein, Hall & Associates, Illinois Energy Windows & Siding, Chicagoland Pool Management, and state Rep. Darlene Senger of Naperville.