"Get your smiles on," calls out a Cole Elementary School fifth-grade teacher to members of the Cole Professional Academy entering the gymnasium that has been converted into a mock job fair. The students just completed a session on job interview tips before they joined area business representatives to get some practice.
A wide variety of businesses participated in the event including Caterpillar, Frito-Lay, Huston Electric and Erie Insurance. The students answered questions like "What is your greatest strength?" and "Describe a challenge you have faced." The business representatives say they were very impressed with the students.
"The students did very well," says Eric Gellenbeck from Caterpillar Inc. "I was impressed with how well prepared the students were for the interview. It is good to see schools teaching these type of life skills."
"This is phenomenal," says Kirby Risk President Doug Mansfield."The students demonstrated good manners, good eye contact and communicated well."
The Cole Professional Academy, now in its second year, consists of monthly sessions to teach fifth-grade students the concepts of professionalism and various soft skills to prepare them for college and to enter the work force. Topics include funeral home etiquette, how to dress professionally, how to bake a cake and proper internet usage.