By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
A strong demand for qualified labor has prompted the Grand Island Central School District to help connect its students with employers looking for help.
Thursday, the same day Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement saying, “New Department of Labor data shows that New York has more private sector jobs than at any time in our history,” Grand Island High School hosted a well-attended job fair in the high school cafeteria.
“Many of the employers called us looking for students to apply at their companies, and after the fourth phone call, we decided to have the job fair,” said Grand Island High School business teacher and DECA advisor Cheryl Chamberlain.
Most of the companies looking for employees were Island businesses, including Montana International, Adrian’s Custard and Beef, Anchor Marine, Tops, Island Fun Center and Branches of Niagara, but mainland businesses like Delaware North, Panera Bread and Wegmans were also interviewing prospects.
These weren’t mock interviews intended to help students practice their skills. There were real jobs to be had. “This is not make-believe. This is the first annual Grand Island Job Fair. All 17 companies present today are hiring. And we’re really excited to give the students at Grand Island the opportunity to apply for real positions for the summer,” Chamberlain said.
Dozens of GIHS students took advantage of the chance. “We had a really great response from the student body,” Chamberlain added, explaining that students were told to complete a resume, fill out an application and sit down for a one-on-one interview.
“Students did their homework and have showed up today ready to work,” Chamberlain said.