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Success at the Kings County Job Fair

HANFORD — As in years past, hundreds of people headed to the Hanford Civic Auditorium Thursday morning in hopes of finding a new employer at the Kings County Job Fair.

“I ran out of resumes,” said Alyssa Rodriguez, who attended the Kings County Job Fair for the first time.

After about an hour and a half inside, Rodriguez walked down the Civic Auditorium steps feeling pretty satisfied with what she accomplished.

Despite the large number of people, Rodriguez said she stayed focused on her personal goals and did what she set out to do: get her name and face out there to potential employers.

Frances Perkins, general manager of Home2 Suites by Hilton, was at the job fair for the very first time looking for employees. The new hotel will open in Hanford in January, so Perkins was looking to fill many various positions.

Perkins said she was impressed with both the number of job seekers and the number of employers who took the time to attend the event.

“I ran out of applications the first 45 minutes I was here,” Perkins said, adding she took 150 applications to the job fair and had to send for more.

As far as the employee pool, Perkins said she talked to a lot of good candidates and was surprised many of the people she talked to already had hotel experience.

Robert Avina, an employment training technician with the Kings County Job Training Office, said the Kings County Job Fair is a popular event and expected to have over 1,000 attendees cycle in throughout the morning.

Avina said there were about 73 organizations stationed throughout the auditorium; 65 of the organizations were employers and temp agencies, while the rest were resource booths.

“We try to do the best that we can to get employers to attend,” Avina said, adding some of the employers even conducted on-the-spot interviews.

The types of career fields applicants had the opportunity to apply to included law enforcement, government, retail, school districts, tax services, hospitality, food services, medical, agriculture, construction, and insurance, among many others.

Not only were there employer booths and resource booths, but several tables were set up as “application stations” so people could apply for jobs on-the-spot, Avina said. He said a Proteus, Inc. bus with computers inside was also stationed outside the auditorium so attendees could apply online at the site or make copies of their resumes.

The application stations were so full of people, attendees took any available space to fill out applications, Avina said, including outside on the steps of the auditorium.

“I feel like it is a success,” Avina said.

Perkins said it’s sometimes difficult to get a large number of applicants together at the same place and time, so job fairs are a perfect platform to get the attention of more prospective employees.

“It’s nice to have a place to come and do this,” Perkins said. “This gave me a really good opportunity to grab them all at once.”

Rodriguez said she thought the job fair was a great place to find possible jobs and other resources for job-seekers, and many of the potential employers told her to make sure to apply online for available jobs — which she said she was definitely going to do.

New tech for T-K and K students at LUESD

The Lemoore Union Elementary School District has rolled out new Chromebook laptops for all of their students to help them improve their technology skills.   

Lemoore School District Superintendent Cheryl Hunt said this will be the first year that all students will have access to Chromebooks, down to the youngest students in kindergarten and transitional kindergarten. 

The first few weeks have been a set of practice runs for both the students and their teachers to practice implementing newly purchased Dell Chromebooks into their classrooms and in their lessons.

At P. W. Engvall Elementary School this past week, students in kindergarten have been slowly introduced to the technology so that they can become familiar with it.

“The devices that we have are 360 devices so they are not only keyboard but also touch screen, and they can lay them flat like a tablet,” Hunt said. “They are learning how to log in, and they have their own password.”

Every student will have a Chromebook of his or her own and will be using programs like Starfall for many of their lessons and homework assignments.

Students in seventh and eighth grade will be able to take them home with to use for homework.

LUESD has a total of about 15 kindergarten teachers and three T-K, who will be receiving the laptops this year.

Kindergarten teacher Anne Pedro has been teaching for 18 years and says this is the first time she has had a computer for each student.

She hopes that by the end of the year, students will be able to use Google Docs or create a number of Google Slides.

“At the very beginning, the students will be using them for a span of about 15 to 20 minutes,” Pedro said. “Logging on was a big thing, because they are looking for their numbers, and they are looking for their letters.

Her first priority is to help the students learn their ABCs, their numbers, and other sets of beginner learning activities.

“In first grade, they will be able to do more things, and when they get older there are lots of things that they can do,” Pedro said of the laptops.

Pedro’s kindergarteners had their first day of training with the devices on Wednesday, and practiced typing in their usernames and passwords to log in.  The students caught on pretty quickly, and went on to learn how to log on to the program Starfall, where they will be working on reading and math problems.

The activity itself was helpful to many of the students who were not too familiar with their ABCs or the spelling of their names.

“I think this will really help them to develop their technology skills, and how to utilize the device appropriately,” Hunt said. “A couple of them have indicated that they have a computer at home, but now they have one at school, so they are excited about it.”

Hunt said that to prepare for introducing the computers, many of the teachers have spent time over the last few years going through training in Goggle systems and participated in additional technology training this summer.

“We went through an English adoption last year, and the components of that adoption were very technology based so that the textbooks, reading materials are all pushed out onto the computer,” Hunt said. “We're trying to get them (the students) used to that sort of teaching environment so that when they go to college they already have that skills set.”