Starting somewhere
Teens can check out their employment chances at West’s Teen Job Fair March 30

       Bobbie Warren knows about teen self-sufficiency. As a 15-year-old, she got her first job at a McDonald's, decided she definitely wanted to go to college, and continued stepping up from there.
       “You have to start somewhere,” she said. “I didn't like it then, but it taught me about time management and responsibility.”
       Now, as director of the city's Teen Self-Sufficiency Program (TSP), Warren is organizing the fifth annual Teen Job Fair (with the help of the West Inter-generational Center) in the West Middle School gymnasium Friday, March 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. Access to the free event will be through the center's entrance at 25 N. 20th St.
       The fair will let boys and girls ages 16 to 24 meet em-ployers from the public and private sector who are looking for young workers. As many as 38 are expected to set up booths, Warren said. Last year's event attracted more than 500 youths.
       At the very least, a youngster can get experience in preparing a resume and learning from employers what skills they might need. Even better, a teen might pick up a lead on a summer job. And, at the very best, an applicant might actually get hired on the day of the fair - as happened to one girl last year - and still be working at that job, Warren said.
       As Warren herself learned, having a job as a teenager helps develop self-sufficiency. “You don't have to beg or borrow for clothes or to put gas in your car,” she said. “And you might learn skills that will help you in the future.”
       Teens are asked to dress in what's known as “business casual” - not necessarily fancy clothes, just simple and clean, and definitely not “ghetto style” or baring too much skin, she said.
       A resume listing education, skills and past jobs is also recommended, and teens should know their social security number if they hope to apply for jobs during the fair.
       “Be professional, and sell yourself,” advised Warren.
       Parents are also welcome to accompany their children.
       Among the employers who have confirmed for the fair so far are T-Mobile Cellular, U.S. Waste, Pikes Peak Community College, Schwan's Fine Foods, Colorado Springs Parks, The Broadmoor, Memorial Hospital, Pikes Peak Library District and all the branches of the military.
       A difference from last year's Teen Job Fair is the minimum age, which has gone up from 14 to 16. According to Warren, several 14- and 15-year-olds came last year, but found no one offering paying jobs for anyone that young.
       The TSP, funded through a partnership including the city, county, school district and various private entities, also runs the Teen Resource Center at West and other community centers around the city.
       For more information, call Warren at 444-5212.

Westside Pioneer article