job fair

School emphasizes real-life skills

When the lunch bell rang on Friday at Half Moon Bay High School the throngs of students who usually head down the hill stopped instead on the central quad to learn about potential job opportunities. More than 20 local businesses and government agencies were represented at the job fair.

Generous displays of cookies, candy and swag helped attract students as they went from table to table collecting information about employment. A crowd of students quickly gathered around the Rocket Farms display featuring small potted plants. “Here’s the deal,” Lori Cleland, assistant manager of the wholesale center at the farm, told them. “If you take a job application you can take a plant.”

Cleland said they have immediate openings for a few part-time employees with opportunities for expanded hours on weekends and holidays.

A friendly golden retriever made dog-care provider Marley and Me another popular stop for the students.

Other local businesses ranging from Hassett Hardware and Verdura Construction to Inkspell Books and Peet’s Coffee offered information about opportunities. The prospect of free meals at Mullins Bar and Grill seemed to make the pitch from Half Moon Bay Golf Links particularly appealing to a group of students.

Recruiters from the Coast Guard and the Marines as well as representatives from the Postal Service, San Mateo County Libraries, San Mateo County Public Works and the Sewer Authority Mid-coastside joined the fair. Safeway, McDonald’s and T-Mobile were also present with employees ready to pitch local opportunities.

Marine Sgt. Roberto Montecer told students they can start on their journey as high school juniors. While still in school they can participate in workouts while learning what to expect if they enlist. He emphasized that the Marines offer more than 300 career pathways. He’s a diesel mechanic but talked about his friends who work in cybersecurity with the Marines and are now finding high-paying jobs.

The job fair grew out of efforts by the Cabrillo Education Foundation and the Real Life Learning office at the school. Corrine Bucher, executive director of the foundation, and Bettina Lunasin, vice president, talked about visiting businesses in town to recruit participants in the fair and help build opportunities for local students.

Karen Hoffman, coordinator for Real Life Learning at the high school, explained how talking to employers can help students discover opportunities to learn more about themselves and guide their life pathways.

In her role at the school, Hoffman helps coordinate service learning hours students are required to complete before graduation. She is also expanding real-life learning to include internships, mentoring programs and interview coaching. Intern Lily McGraw came to the Review through the program.

Although most Half Moon Bay High students pursue college degrees after graduating, organizers of the job fair hope that the opportunities presented will give students a chance to earn some income over the summer as well as discover more career options. 

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