PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Friday, the Elite Youth Outreach Program and area businesses gave local students an opportunity to learn new job skills and possibly gain employment.
As he prepares to turn 16 in just weeks, new doors will soon open for Robert Thomas, a student at Knoxville Center for Student Success. That includes his first chance at joining the workforce.
“I feel more mature and older doing stuff on my own, so when I get out on my own I can be used to providing for myself,” Thomas said.
But he admits the process of tracking down a job as a teen can sometimes be difficult.
“When it’s everywhere it’s like a drag, and it’s like stressful,” Thomas said.
Friday, the Elite Youth Program hosted a job fair, featuring more than 20 employers, which gave Thomas and other students a one-stop-shop to work on professional skills.
“To get our kids soft skills at the earliest possible age, it’s critical. That’s going to open the doors for some of those we say are at a disadvantage,” said Carl Cannon, Founder of Elite Youth Program.
The event also allowed those in attendance to potentially land an open position.
“To know they’re at work at a real job, with a real employer, it means when they get off of that job, they’re going to look for a pillow instead of hanging out in the streets and the alleys,” Cannon said.
Thomas says the job fair is a helpful boost for his future.
“We don’t have to wait until we’re 17 or 18 to get a job. We can start early so when we’re older we can build ourselves quicker,” he said.
Cannon hailed the employers at the job fair as heroes. He says they understand that work is important but school comes first.