By Lori Lyn Lirio
OVER 30 government agencies, private companies and more than 60 students participated in the job fair facilitated by the Public School System’s Cooperative Education program early last month in Saipan World Resort.
According to Brandon S. Nicholas, PSS Cooperative Education Program coordinator, the participating students came from three different high schools, including Marianas High School, Kagman High School and Saipan Southern High School.
“The students were presented with many opportunities today,” he said, adding the program’s purpose is to connect the students with different opportunities in terms of work either in public of private sector.
The program has been holding job fair for junior and senior high schools twice a year or every start of the semester.
In an e-mail, Nicholas explained that the Co-op Education is a work-based learning program that integrates classroom instruction with planned and supervised on-the-job training. He said the participating companies/agencies provide structured work experience adding that many students had benefited from this program by successfully transitioning them from coop students to full time or part time employees.
“Every place that you visit with our community partners that have coop students are now working as full time or part time employees. This is the whole purpose of our program – to prepare them for those kinds of opportunities,” Nicholas said.
One of the participants, MHS student Mary Jane Domingo, said she had applied for seven companies. She also said it was her first time to join the job fair for students.
“The job fair is a good avenue to gain experience for applying jobs.”
Before allowing them to participate in the job fair, Domingo said they have to go through classroom lectures where they learned how to apply for jobs, how to do interviews, how to dress appropriately and learn how to interact with other people and potential employees.
Jezza Guerrero, Human Resource specialist for Commonwealth Ports Authority, said she was impressed with the students. She described them all as professionals.
“They came prepared, which we appreciate. Through them we get to find out what their interests are and why they took an interest to sit down with the agency,” she said.
According to Guerrero, there were 22 students who went to their table and get interviewed.
“Most of them like to learn more about the airport and seaport management in the CNMI.”
She expressed appreciation with the Coop Education program as it gives the students the opportunity to have hands-on experience in both the public and private sector in the CNMI.
“This prepares them for their career after college or after high school, if they decide to work. If they perform well enough some of the agencies will keep them. I think it is a great opportunity for growth and learning,” she said.
Nicholas said the next job fair for students will be scheduled on January next year.
“We will do our best to get even more students and more companies.”