Despite a bomb scare that officials say turned out to be a prank call, Proviso East High School’s Third Annual Employment Fair turned out to be its most successful yet, according to organizers.
Wednesday’s job fair attracted representatives from 16 companies and 152 students seeking both part-time or summer employment and careers for after graduation.
“We got great feedback from companies”one of the people from Toys R Us said they had never been to a fair where they ran out of applications,” said Proviso East guidance counselor George Pappas, who helped organize the event.
The fair, which was scheduled to start at 9:45 a.m., was postponed by about 45 minutes when the school received a bomb threat at about 9:30 a.m. According to District 209 Director of Communications Angela McGee, the school was evacuated and First Avenue was closed off for just under an hour as Maywood police and firefighters searched for evidence of explosives.
Finding none, police allowed students to re-enter the buildings and both classes and the job fair were able to resume. McGee said that Maywood police were working to determine the source of the phone call.
Pappas said that though company representatives were told they did not need to stay if they felt uncomfortable after the scare, the employers insisted on continuing the event as planned.
While many students left the fair with new employment prospects, Pappas said the goal was to give students some practice living in the professional world.
“Kids are being exposed to just going out there with employers, learning how to interview … it’s a process and a lot of people don’t know that,” he said.
In order to take part in the job fair, students had to maintain a C average and have less than five absences for the quarter.
Participating students were required to attend a workshop sponsored by the Illinois Employment Training Center (IETC) prior to the fair which included mock interviews and lessons in proper professional attire, among other preparations.
Participating companies included: Forest Park National Bank, McDonald’s, Carpenter’s Union, IBEW Local 134 Electricians, White Castle, Illinois Department of Employment Security, FedEx, United Postal Service, Toys R Us, The Illinois National Guard, Cub Foods, John H. Stroger President’s Office of Employment Training (P.O.E.T.) and the Institute of Medical Professionals.