GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Burton Elementary and Burton Middle School resumed their Reverse Job Fair after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Instead of encouraging the scholars to attend a job fair elsewhere, the job fair came to them. Forty employees visited 6th, 7th and 8th-grade classrooms throughout the day and talked about their experiences in the workplace.

“This event is about encouraging and inspiring the scholars to seek out global initiatives and be in collaboration with other businesses,” said GRPS Counselor Pamela Hamilton-Hull. “It prepares them for life after middle school.”

The school invited a wide array of guests to the fair, ranging from a financial planner to an esthetician to a mortician.

Each guest had some sort of hands-on activity or educational presentation for the scholars. The financial planner gave scholars a step-by-step guide on how to plan a budget, invest, set up a savings account and save money. The esthetician brought different samples of skincare and explained why it was important for youth to take care of their skin. An engaging presentation was also brought by the mortician, and scholars were particularly interested in this career path.

With the teachers as hosts, each classroom followed a timeline that allowed each classroom to be visited by about six guests. Scholars stayed in their classrooms like normal but got to experience individuals representing the workplace throughout the day.

Guests were offered a continental breakfast upon their arrival. They were also welcomed back for a catered lunch. Guests were also surrounded by decorations that lined the walls of the library.

Hamilton-Hull mentioned that this gives scholars early exposure to careers and helps them make a choice on how to pursue their academic experience. They were introduced to both trade and professional careers, which allowed scholars to form their own decision on whether they want to focus on pursuing a community college, four-year university, trade school, military, and more after high school.

“It’s never too late to start networking with the people in our community,” said Hamilton-Hull. “Networking can lead scholars to connections that will introduce them to future internships, jobs, colleges, scholarships, and more.”

After a successful event, Hamilton-Hull is eager to prepare for next year’s ninth Reverse Job Fair. Her passion for preparing scholars for life after high school sets this event up for success every single year and offers scholars a unique opportunity to get access to different perspectives and backgrounds from the people who represent the local workplace.