CHIC: Finding jobs for high school age students

Jessica Polatty
Bloomfield Senior Center Director
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Editors Note: Community Health Improvement Councils, or CHICs, were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) with the goal of getting local citizens, groups, service providers and county governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The mission is to promote the health and well-being of all people in San Juan County and neighboring regions through broad-based dialogue, partnership, advocacy and unified action. This article is part of the February Positive Wellness Campaign.

The Bloomfield Community Awareness Reaching Everyone, or C.A.R.E., Coalition is a group of community members, city employees, educators, elected officials, and business professionals interested in creating a better community for families living within the Bloomfield School District, including the communities of Bloomfield, Blanco, Nageezi, Carson/Hanáádlí, Dzilth na o dith le, and Lybrook.

Through various focus groups throughout the community conducted in 2013, The CARE Coalition determined areas that the community of Bloomfield was interested in improving.  One of these areas of focus was more summer and after-school employment for high school age students.  The students emphasized the need for more employment opportunities in their town or throughout San Juan County.  Through this insight, the Annual Bloomfield High School Job Fair was created.

With the help of teachers, counselors, and administrators at the Bloomfield High School, the Bloomfield CARE Coalition, and professionals in San Juan County, a job fair was created for the students that not only promotes businesses and organizations that are accepting applications for employment and volunteer opportunities but also provides valuable information to the students in the areas of the job application process, work ethics, and financial counseling.

The employment portion of the job fair invites businesses, non-profit organizations, law enforcement, emergency services, and military representatives to talk with the students about working, volunteering, or the requirements and training necessary in order to pursue various types of careers.  The employment portion also includes businesses that are actually taking applications for summer help and may have the applications there for students to fill out or information for online applications. The students also have the opportunity to talk with various college representatives in the area including San Juan College, Dine College, the University of New Mexico, Highlands University, and Fort Lewis College.

This is the fourth year for the Bloomfield High School Job Fair.  The job fair is mandatory for all juniors and seniors who attend the high school and consists of three morning sessions of presentations from business professionals and culminates in the fourth hour with the application session with employers, organizations, and continuing education.  Charley Y. Brown Alternative High School students are also invited to attend the job fair.  The 2017 Bloomfield High School Job Fair will take place on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The Bloomfield High School Job Fair is presented to the students through the partnerships of The Bloomfield CARE Coalition, San Juan County Partnership, Bloomfield High School, and the city of Bloomfield.

Meetings of the Bloomfield CARE Coalition take place the second Tuesday of each month at the Bloomfield Senior Citizens’ Center at 8:30 a.m.  Anyone is welcome to attend.  If you would like more information about the Bloomfield High School Job Fair or about the Bloomfield CARE Coalition, please contact Jessica Polatty at 632-8351.