JA Virtual Inspire

Students will use an online platform to join the virtual career fair.

MANSFIELD ─ Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio will host its first virtual career fair for teenagers on March 10.

The event, JA Virtual Inspire, is a coalition between schools and businesses. Holly Dawson, senior district program manager for Junior Achievement, said it targets seventh to 12th grade students in 15 counties.

That includes Richland, Ashland Crawford and other surrounding counties.

“We feel it's never too early to start thinking about their future and what they want to do when they get older,” Dawson said.

Junior Achievement has been working with school districts since October, Dawson said. About 12,000 students have signed up for the career fair. Almost 20 companies and organizations will participate in the event, including First Energy, Cisco, Citizens Bank, Ohio Mutual Insurance Group and STEERE Enterprises.

Dawson said the organization keeps recruiting businesses for the event, recently partnering with Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development.

She said that students will receive a guidebook before March to start thinking about career planning and their interests. The process will help them navigate the event on a virtual platform.

When users log in, they will see the system’s conference-center-style setup, just like what they would experience at a physical career fair. Dawson said there would be 16 career clusters, including human services, law and public safety, STEM and hospitality. A college corner would also be available.

When students enter a “hall,” they will see different companies’ “booths” where they can watch videos from the representatives and download information about the business.

Dawson said the videos would be about a company’s introduction, the goods or service it provides to the community or the employee’s education or background requirement. Students can bring their questions to the help desk on March 10.

Dawson also said while the virtual career fair is only one-day, the platform will stay open for students until June 10. They can go back and get the information they need.

“The one thing that we really want the kids to understand is that there are so many opportunities right here in North Central Ohio. They don't have to go away to New York to find an advertising job,” Dawson said.

Junior Achievement is inviting businesses to join the event. According to the organization, companies can participate with different levels of sponsorship. They will be able to interact with students with the customized exhibit booths and be featured on the newsletter or social media channel.

For more information, contact Holly Dawson at 330-433-0063, ext. 105 or holly.dawson@ja.org.

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