Courtesy of Cheryl Joseph
Students and community members attended the 5th annual ECE and K-12 Career and Transfer Fair which was held virtually this year on April 21. It was hosted by the K-12 Education program, Early Childhood Education program, Early Childhood Education Club, and Oakton Future Educators Club.
In the ECE and K-12 Career and Transfer Fair, it has a variety of workshops, job opportunities, and college representatives from four-year universities. It gives the opportunity for students and community members to join any of the sessions in order to learn more information about it.
Romesa Zia, an Oakton student said,“This was my first time attending the event. I found out about the event from the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Club. It was also on the Oakton website of the career and transfer fair,”
Cheryl Joseph, an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education described how the ECE and K-12 Career and Transfer Fair was founded. “Paula [Luszcz, Early Childhood Education Department Chair] and I originally had brainstormed the idea. Originally, it was the ECE Career and Transfer Fair. Some of the main reasons behind the creation was an effort to connect and build that relationship with our in-district high schools.”
She added, “We had continuously all kinds of programs from schools and businesses in the area somehow connected with children who are in great need of employees. We saw the fair as a way to bring those programs together, give them space to showcase, and speak to what their program offers, and give them the opportunity to meet with our students,” said Joseph.
Zia participated in one of the workshops during the event.“I attended the An Introduction to IL Gateways: Scholarships, Credentials, Great Start Wage Supplement, and Professional Development Advising (PDA) Program. In the workshop, the presenters show the IL Gateways website. They also talked about the supplemental wages, IL credentials, and scholarships,” said Zia.
Joseph explained that her favorite workshop was the Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Across K-12 Classrooms by Rick Daniels, director of Student Life and Campus Inclusion. She described what she took away from the workshop and lessons she has learned.
“When Rick talks about words having power, your words matter, they influence how others move in the world, and our words truly. They can put somebody down and we can inspire, ignite, energize, and help others do good in this world. The most meaningful and relevant to me,” said Joseph.
Zia and Joseph both shared their own advice for students who are undecided and those who have never attended an event before. “The advice I would give is to join different clubs, job fairs, and different workshops. It is helpful when you see a college fair and gives you information on it,” said Zia.
“For the undecided student, I would suggest to them to think what are the possibilities or what are my interests, and brainstormed. Then, start reaching out to those individuals, learn their story, find out their path, and how they got there and see if that might help you to build your direction. Students who are unsure of attending an event are scary sometimes, but sometimes we have to push ourselves out of our box and open up the opportunity for good things to come our way,” said Joseph.