According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, the national jobless rate for April further declined to 3.6 percent. That, coupled with a recent comment from President Trump that the stock market and economy “is doing the best probably it’s ever done,” bodes well for high school students like the ones nearing graduation at Hillsboro High School, who took part in a second annual job fair Friday.
HHS Guidance counselors Tina Young and Jessica Rhoades came up with the idea for a Senior Showcase last year, and Young said that Friday’s event was designed to allow juniors and seniors to meet with potential employers in a job fair environment to get advice and support, with many of last year’s seniors landing jobs right after graduation.
“It’s a networking event where we get all of our junior and seniors down to the gym at different times to check on summer jobs or jobs for after they graduate or a path to college,” she said. “We want to make sure our students have a plan in place for when they leave here.”
She said most of the students that she and Rhoades counsel already have a career path mapped out, but those that don’t are encouraged to meet with representatives of Ohio Means Jobs, or she and Rhoades will sit down with them and inventory their skills and interests, and promote considering an appropriate tech school, community college such as Southern State or a career in the military, where recruiters from both the Army and National Guard were on hand Friday.
Sgt. First Class Michael Aguero, station commander for the Army recruiting station in Hillsboro, said that opportunities for skills and education abound in today’s military.
“We work real close with the high school throughout the year,” he said. “And since the Army did away with individual quotas for recruiters several years ago, our mission is to contact 100 percent of every senior class just to show them the many opportunities that are out there.”
The Department of Labor said that the number of job openings now outnumbers the number of job seekers, a fact that doesn’t surprise Rhonda Fannin, director of Workforce Services/Ohio Means Jobs Highland County, that also had a table at the job fair.
“The job numbers for Highland County shows 1,061 employment opportunities within a 20 mile radius of the 45133 zip code and 214 within a five-mile radius,” Fannin said. “For the southeast region of Ohio, there were nearly 8,000 jobs posted for the month of March, which is the most recent month available online.”
She said that 18 percent of the postings fall within in the area of health care practitioners and technical occupations. Coming in second with 15 percent of available job opportunities were sales and related occupations, and the third highest job posting area was that of office and administrative support with 10 percent of all job postings.
Remaining trends were in transportation and materials moving, food preparation and serving, management, health care support, installation, maintenance and repair, production occupations, and building and grounds cleaning.
Michelle Ward, human resources manager at NCB, said she was there on behalf of her company to help students discover what they want to be “when they grow up.”
“I talk with them about NCB teaming up with different colleges like Southern State and Wilmington College to offer internships,” Ward said. “We’re always looking at bringing that talent in and investing in those students in terms of training and development, with the hope being of retaining them as a permanent hire.”
The New York Times reported that the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in April, surpassing economist’s predictions that it would add 190,000 jobs, with gains occurring in professional and business services, construction, health care and social service organizations.
The labor department said that over the month of April, the number of those without a job decreased by 387,000 to 5.8 million, with the labor force participation rate unchanged from this time last year at 62.8 percent.
The May jobs report from the labor department will be released Friday, June 7.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.