Sept. 15, 2007 — A "massive" turnout of young people filled the D.C. Canegata Recreation Center Saturday for entertainment, food and the occasional free iPod, but the real draws were jobs and careers.
The Department of Labor sponsored the Youth Career Explosion job fair in response to a challenge from Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan for innovative ways to reach out to young people, according to coordinator Arah Lockhart.
So we did it on a Saturday, in a ballpark, she said. To further spark interest, the hot little digital music players were given away to lucky holders of raffle tickets. The Rising Stars Steel Band played under a tent outside and the scent of barbecued chicken wafted from the grill. Water bottles, pens, computer mouse pads, rulers and candy were given away.
Lockhart said many V.I. youth are unemployed, underemployed or totally displaced. She said many young people are too intimidated to come to the labor offices, or just dont know what the department offers.
I like to work, said Ricky Caleb Jr., a 16-year old Central High School junior as he completed a job application for the Buccaneer Hotel. I need to get money to pay my bills and keep me occupied.
The fair was aimed at young people between 16 and 25 and hundreds took advantage of the opportunity, streaming in and out of the facility for several hours.
The turnout is massive, said Lauretta Petersen, youth services coordinator. Employees and business owners manned tables of literature and job application from more than 30 businesses and youth service program. They talked to attendees and assisted them in filling out applications.
Some of the offerings were from the U.S. Post Office, the Navy, Army and National Guard, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Penntium Electronics and Technical Training, Biz VI, UVI CELL, Mary Kay Cosmetics and The National Park Service.
Labor employees had surveys for participants to complete to aid the department in figuring out what sort of services to offer. Lockhart said the initiative will be coming to St. Thomas in the near future.
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