I often speak with job seekers, especially students, who change their mind on a regular basis answering the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” This was the focus of the first official Jobing Foundation sponsored event last Thursday the Youth Experience at the LA Jobing.com Career Expo.
I’ve found that it’s really about what do I know about. First is your frame of reference. If your parents are in the construction industry, your other family members are in construction, and your friends’ parents are in construction, you might likely end up in construction.
Second, it’s what else have you had exposure to? For instance, we all think of the four year old saying they want to be a doctor, a fire fighter, a nurse. These are the easy ones. Yet companies are moving much faster than this. And frankly, when we grow up we want to be unique… our own person. The job title of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) did not exist only a few years ago. So how do companies recruit for these jobs? How do we train for jobs that don’t exist yet?
The first step is to give students — our next generation of job seekers — the opportunity to see what else is out there.
That is the primary goal of the Youth Experience at the Career Expo. At the first Youth Experience, we bused in 300 inner city high school and Job Corps students to encourage them to open their eyes to the opportunities. The event featured several speakers including LA’s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Brett Farmiloe and Zach Hubbell from Pursue the Passion. Then, the students were taken on tours of the Career Expo, introducing them to employers that were both hiring teens as well as those that were interested in speaking with them about their futures… and why continuing their educations were so important.
When asking the students what they thought about the event, several said that they really didn’t know that there were so many options for them. Opening their eyes… the first step.