HONESDALE—Local employment, education and military representatives gathered at Honesdale High School (HHS) for the third annual Career Fair last Friday morning.

Twenty-six booths were filled with prospective employers, members of the armed forces and college representatives to inform Wayne Highlands juniors and seniors about the prospects post graduation.

“It's a great opportunity for our kids and we're happy that our local businesses volunteered to come in and give up their time and give opportunities to kids,” said HHS Assistant Principal John Kretschmer.

The Career Fair is one of a series of resources to help students develop their 339 plan, a statewide, career-minded readiness program aiming to put students on their best foot going forward.

Following the Career Fair, juniors were asked to fill out a survey identifying three employers that line up with their career interests and aptitudes, and write about what they learned from speaking with the representatives.

“And that's going to further help them explore if they're still interested in that area of expertise,” explained Paige Pinto, an HHS school counselor.

Fellow counselor Paul Reiprich noted this year's survey was changed to be more specific than last year's to better help the students identify what is needed on the job.

Reiprich explained this year's career fair was scheduled a few months earlier than last year's, allowing for the possibility of more summer jobs being yet unfulfilled and more students still searching for employment.

“This year, the kids seem very active in the process,” Reiprich explained, noting that in years past, it took greater effort to coax students into participating. “This group seems pretty proactive.”

Students Jenna Mohn, Dominic Maglione and Megan O'Neill shared their experiences at Friday's Career Fair.

Mohn noted, “I think it's a good opportunity to give students exposure.” Noting she has an idea of what she'd like to do after graduation, she added “[The Career Fair] is helping me see other choices I have.”

Maglione stated vendors at the fair “... give you advice on what to do if you want to follow that career path, which is kind of helpful as ...the college process starts.”

In O'Neill's words, “for people who are still not sure where they want to go, it's a good opportunity to see what's available.”

Representing the Laborers International Union of North America, David Horn noted the fair had brought some students by the booth.

Horn noted the union offers an apprenticeship program which allows graduates looking to get into draft and building trades the ability to “...get paid while they learn and not carry any debt from college.”

The 4000-hour program, roughly two years of construction work said Horn, is free if they get in and allows students to make full-rate earnings as a journeyman when they complete the study.

Horn noted journeyman laborers can make around $25 per hour.

“Right now there's a huge skills gap in the construction industry in general,” said Horn. “We're having a hard time getting students or young people getting out of school to get involved in the trades.”