Companies present exciting opportunities at job fair

Anna Feng and Sophia Yang

From flipping sizzling burgers to refereeing for intramural sports, students have a wide variety of job opportunities, some of which were presented at the in-person job fair during lunch on Friday at Palo Alto High School.

Ashley Yee-Mazawa, program director of Youth Community Service, discusses ongoing opportunities with junior Sophia Lee. YCS, an organization that offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for teens in the Mid-Peninsula, currently has openings within its after school and YCS Connect programs. According to Yee-Mazawa, YCS is looking for individuals who are committed to their mission. “Somebody who is passionate and dedicated to the YCS mission is always really important,” Yee-Mazawa said. “All the rest of the skills kind of come after that when you are dedicated and interested in the work.” (Photo: Anna Feng)

The job fair, organized by the Palo Alto Unified School District Curriculum and Career Education Department, was the first in-person one since the start of the pandemic.

CCE staff members and five employers attended the job fair, including representatives from Legarza Sports, Stanford Intramural Sports, Slingshot Connections, Youth Community Service and In-N-Out.

Employers set up booths, answered questions, and handed out flyers and free merchandise to interested students. 

According to work experience and Advanced Authentic Research teacher Rachel Kaci, the job fair was held earlier this year than usual as a result of an increased number of organizations contacting Kaci to attend the fair. 

“This is our first live job fair on campus since Covid, so we’re excited,” Kaci said. “It’s happening so quickly, usually it happens a little bit later in the fall, but we’ve had so many vendors trying to reach out.”

Josiah Riley, assistant director for intramural sports at Stanford University, said he is seeking officials and referees for the intramural sports programs this fall. According to Riley, he is mainly looking for prospective employees who would be good team players and attentive listeners. 

“I need someone who knows how to be a good teammate, someone who knows game management, time management, someone who knows how to problem solve, and someone who knows how to talk,” Riley said. “Most importantly, someone who knows how to listen, because you’re not only listening to me, you’re listening to all the participants and the rules.”

Riley said having work experience will teach students life skills that are applicable to any job.

“Having a part time job gives you the opportunity to learn and experience the outside world,” Riley said. “It teaches students how to deal with taxes, how to deal with HR, and how to deal with customers.”

Josiah Riley, assistant director for intramural sports at Stanford University, speaks with students about potential job opportunities. (Photo: Anna Feng)

This sentiment is echoed by Kaci, who said she believes jobs provide students skills more valuable than the money acquired. 

“My favorite part about a student having a job is that it forces them to become organized and especially focused on time management,” Kaci said. “I think you should get compensated for the hard work you’re putting in, but it really is about learning on a more upscale level of how to manage your time.”

Many students attended the job fair and viewed the experience positively, including junior Haley Oba who recognized the benefits of getting a job. 

“It’s good to get experience and deal with people in a retail job,” Oba said. 

According to Legarza Sports representative Aidan Jardon, the company is currently hiring fall camp coaches for a variety of sports including football and street hockey as well as science and technology programs.

“We’re coaching them in the summer and throughout the year during our programs, it’s a lot of fun,” Jardon said. “The kids get to learn, we like to learn, honestly, everyone benefits. It’s a really inclusive environment and we’re never pointing out negatives on anybody.”

Jardon said they are mainly looking for open minded students willing to learn and get outside their comfort zone. 

“We really look for someone that’s willing to try new things,” Jardon said. “If they can do that, they will be successful at our job but also in the workforce and as they grow. It [a job] teaches a lot of life skills early on, especially in high school.”

More information about other jobs also offered to Paly students can be found here.