By Karl Weisel (Wiesbaden Family and MWR)March 7, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany - A partnership between the high school, Child and Youth Services, and a host of local organizations gave students a chance to network and delve deeper into potential current and post-high school employment and volunteer opportunities.
"This is the first time we've ever done a Youth Job and Volunteer Expo," said Peter Witmer, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's school liaison officer. "The youth Army Family Action Plan team identified jobs as a top issue during last year's AFAP Conference. Also in our Teen Center we did surveys which indicated that the number one issue was jobs."
The Youth Job and Career Expo held at the high school March 2 featured workshops, information about the Career Practicum Program and representatives from the military services, Education Center, USO, Military Child Education Coalition, the Exchange, Commissary, among others, of the more than 30 Wiesbaden organizations participating.
"We (Child and Youth Services) partnered with the high school, and we're ecstatic that we had the opportunity to bring in these agencies to offer students various options," Witmer said.
"I think one of the real keys to the success of this program in the number of agencies wanting to participate," Witmer said. "They saw the value in being able to present their information to the community, and they saw it as a service to the students."
"I think it's really interesting because you can learn a lot more about what's going on in the community," said Karli Wallace, a Wiesbaden High School 10th-grader, who said she used to volunteer at Army Community Service and was looking forward to the workshops.
"I wanted to get a taste of the workforce," said Darrin Waterbury, a Career Practicum student who was sharing his experiences with the program with fellow students. "You get to see what you like or don't like."
"This has helped me figure out what I want to do," said Aaron Brown, a fellow Career Practicum student helping out at the Expo.
"I think it's very useful -- especially for someone who doesn't have much to do after school," said Elydjah Monteiro, a 10th-grader and one of the prize winners at the After Party following the Expo.
During the afternoon workshops students could choose from such topics as "Interviewing 101 and Dressing for Success," "Leveraging Volunteer Work for College and Career," "Alternatives to College," "Effective Communication" and "Chart Your Course."
As a representative for the Military Child Education Coalition, Katja Pinkston shared tips on various topics. "'Chart Your Course' helps the mobile military student to keep on track and helps them have a comprehensive application for college," she explained.
"I'm advising them on how to find specific jobs in Wiesbaden," said Stephanie Selmani, a human resources assistant with the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. "I think this is an excellent opportunity for high school students to become aware of the opportunities that are out there … current opportunities in the garrison."
Selmani added that most potential applicants indicated they were looking for evening and weekend jobs.
Madeleine Moortel, a representative from the Wiesbaden Education Center, said the Expo helped them reach out to students.
"It's a really great opportunity to connect with the students," she said, adding, "We really don't have an opportunity to connect with this demographic.
"We want to make sure people have all the information available before making a choice about whether to go back to the States to school or to stay here and attend classes. There are a lot of benefits to staying here and taking classes," Moortel said.
The event concluded with bowling and pizza at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center, courtesy of CYS and local sponsors. During the After Party participants who successfully completed the Expo had the chance to enter to win MWR gift vouchers which were given away during the afternoon. The Expo After Party also featured student resume reviews, mock interviews and a "my future selfie" photo booth.
Witmer thanked all of the workshop presenters, local agencies and corporate sponsors Karl & Co. BMW, Military Auto Source and the Community Spouses Club for their support and success of the Expo. He added that another Expo is planned for the next school year.