BEATRICE – Students at a southeast Nebraska high school were getting the chance to use part of their lunch period Friday, to meet with area employers.
It was the second year for the Beatrice High School Job Fair, held in the O-Zone gymnasium….with over 30 employers represented….ranging from manufacturing, to banking, to agriculture, health care, government and the military.

"The whole idea was getting kids face-to-face with employers of our community. That way we kind of take out the middleman of going in, filling out an application. We want to get employers here, face-to-face. Last year, I think we had eight to ten kids who ended up with internships or jobs out of this. Hopefully, we can increase that again, this year." 

Beatrice High School Assistant Principal Philip Voight says within the coursework, students get tips on how to meet and converse with employers, and what questions to ask.  "That's talked about both in our business classes and then also we've provided kids with a punch card, kind of as an incentive to get around....and on the back of that punch card...we've got sample questions, ways for them to start engaging in conversation with these employers."

Voight says there are opportunities out there for all students, whether it involves going on to higher education or entering the work force, or a combination of the two. 

"We want to cater to all kids. That's what our job is. And, if that means we're entering the workforce right out of high school, or we're going to a two-year college or a trade school, or to a four-year college...we want to prepare our kids for that. We've really expanded opportunities for kids to explore those areas, without actually pushing them one way or the other. The community and business members of the community are seeing the benefit of getting face-to-face with our kids, even if it's just introducing themselves as a company...and that student has that in the back of their mind...even if they go out and they go to a trade school or the go to a four-year college....they know there's opportunity back here, for them."

With companies facing workforce shortages or stiff competition for employees, some have gone to helping pay for education costs or training, in exchange for landing a new employee.