By Shandi Dix, Fort Riley Public AffairsMarch 25, 2011
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Kyle Doughall, 14, was looking for a job to earn some extra money at the first Child, Youth and School Services and Employee Readiness Program's Youth Job Fair and Volunteer Opportunities event March 12 at the Forsyth East Child Development Center.
"This iteration was the first partnership of CYSS and ERP on this type of event," said Jeff Reade, employment readiness program manager, Army Community Service. "We expect to continue the partnership. Last year, ERP held a youth career fair for ages 14 to 18."
This year's event was expanded to include the public up to 21 years of age.
Shirl Timms, 19, recently moved to Fort Riley from Germany and hasn't had much luck seeking a job.
"I applied off post and there wasn't really much. There are a lot of job openings, but not a lot I qualify for," Timms said.
Doughall and Timms were among more than 160 youth to participate in the event.
While at the event, Doughall learned he needed to be a little older, but he could take classes to prepare him for opportunities later.
Parents and potential employers said they thought the event was beneficial to teens on and off post.
"I think it's nice because some of the other kids don't have the opportunity to get jobs," said Jessica Rhodes, Doughall's mother.
The job fair also builds partnerships between those seeking employees and Fort Riley.
"The city has always had an excellent partnership with the readiness group and (Army Family Action Plan) so we advertise our jobs with them, and anytime that they have a job fair, either for youth or adults, they always invite us," said Tricia Gowen, public services director, City of Junction City. "In my experience, military dependents are excellent employees, and it gets them that awareness that there are other things than Fort Riley; it gets them out into the world to show them what's in the communities."
Reade said the purpose of the event is to link Army Family members and Central Flint Hills Region youth with employers and volunteer organizations.
"Many regional youths spend their summers and after-school hours doing volunteer work, and others seek paid employment opportunities - some do both," Reade said. "Both volunteer work and earning a wage before high school graduation are beneficial 'life lessons' that will help youth gain skills and experience to draw upon later in life."