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“It’s really amazing to see an entire room full of teens dressed professionally at 9 a.m. Saturday with resume in hand.”

Teens participate in the job fair at New City Church.

Photo by Andrea Dunn

That was the reaction of Josh Dornbos after a teen job fair at New City Christian Reformed Church in Jersey City, N.J.

Dornbos is director of Teen Employment, a program to help teens find jobs.

Every June, the church offers a free three-day job fair. Teens learn resume writing, interview skills, and professional presentation. They role-play different scenarios, learning to communicate clearly and using their intuition, maturity, and giftedness. At the end, teens are interviewed one-on-one with the adult staff at the church.

Based on these interviews, some students are offered paid summer internships or year-round employment at the church. In 2011, 168 high school students attended the job fair; 60 of them landed paid positions.

“You get to meet new people and start to build relationships,” said Ashley Field, who was hired as a drama teacher.

Dai Quan Nelson was employed as a drum teacher. “Job fair brings you out of your comfort zone. You learn how to write a resume,” he said.

Danielle Williams said, “You get nervous with all those people . . . role playing makes you get along with people you don’t know,” she said.

For Destiny Brewer, hired as a tutor, the job fair revealed skills she didn’t know she had. “It’s an opportunity to better yourself and take on a leadership role,” she said.

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