The Irvine Youth Employment Services, iYES, hosted its biannual Youth Job Fair at the Lakeview Senior Center in Irvine, on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Sponsored by the Employment Development Department’s One-Step Center in Irvine and the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club, iYES was initiated in 1983 to assist youths seeking employment opportunities and referrals throughout Orange County. A free event for the applicants and the employers, iYES aims to build a bridge between young adults and the business community of Orange County.
Although the program targets youth ages 16 to 25, Karen Springer, community services director for the city of Irvine, said that iYES welcomes ‘anyone that walks through [its] doors.’ Springer and David Iseri, employment coordinator of the Irvine fair, ensured that the job fairs run smoothly for the applicants and employers.
In addition to offering employment opportunities and referrals, iYES offers assistance and guidance in resume preparation, interview coaching and help with application preparation. The winter job fair held this past weekend offered full-time, part-time and seasonal entry level and intermediate level work.
With an expected 300 applicants, the fair accommodated 22 out of the 25 expected employers, all of whom offered on-site interviews and recruitment. Springer said that that morning, a young man walked in with his family and shortly afterward left the fair with a job offer from Albertsons. Such immediate success is one of the goals of the fair.
iYES has ‘a lot of connections in the community,’ Springer said, and so it offers ‘a large range of office positions and internships’ in addition to opportunities at stores such as Albertsons and Forever 21. Although the turnout at Saturday’s fair was adequate, Springer attributed the lack of attendance to the conditions from the fire and the fact that the Irvine Unified School District closed down its schools this past week. The last two job fairs had 550 applicants, and the summer fair in April is estimated to bring in approximately 600 applicants.
Three large rooms were reserved for the winter fair. In the smallest of these, guests that had not pre-registered presented identification, verifying their eligibility to work. The larger two rooms were separated by jobs that were open to everyone and jobs that were specifically for applicants over the age of 18.
The first hall included a stage set up for employers to advertise their companies, and both rooms had plenty of tables, with specific sections partitioned off for filling out applications or for private interviews.
Diane Pearce, president of the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club, said that Rotary has been sponsoring and volunteering at the iYES fairs for the last five years. She too pointed out the low turnout, and mentioned that employers at this time are desperate to recruit large numbers of young workers due to the upcoming holiday season.
Other volunteers included the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from Irvine Valley College, including its chapter president Anna Miskova-Smyth, and members of the High School Youth Action Team (HSYAT), an organization with the City of Irvine. This variety of young volunteers was intended to help the applicants feel comfortable as they walked through the job fair filling out applications and preparing for interviews.