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Kaiser’s Career Fair Showcases Opportunities for Jobs, Futures


On April 3, Kaiser High School hosted its annual Career Fair, where students had the opportunity to learn about dozens of future employment opportunities.

The event, which took place on the Great Lawn and spanned much of the school day, featured booths from a variety of professionals. Representatives had the ability to share the unique aspects of their jobs to interested students.

Kaiser’s College and Career counselors, especially Mr. Teraoka, took the lead in creating the fair, which debuted last year. However, even before then, the idea had been on Mr. Teraoka’s mind for a while.

“When I started here, that was the first year COVID kind of hit us at the end of third quarter. [A career fair] was always on my mind when I first started, and then my mentor, who I started off with, ended up retiring at some point during the COVID thing, and things just took a while to get into fruition,” said Mr. Teraoka.

2023 saw the debut of the Career Fair at Kaiser, which encompassed a spread of different jobs. 

“Last year was our first year that we decided to go with it, with the help of Ms. Kitagawa big time, and the Army National Guard actually supported us as well. We decided let’s give it a run, because students were saying that they wanted the opportunity to have these type of interactive events that kind of gives them better opportunities to prepare for life after high school.”

The College and Career counselors have access to a DOE portal that helps schools contact different employers, but many presenters this year were recruited directly through students and faculty. Counselors sought to encompass a mix of types of jobs, incorporating everything from basic summer jobs for students to lifetime careers. 

“We’ve been trying to figure out what we wanted to target, and at this point in time, we’re realizing because of the wide range of students, and because it’s open from Grades 9 to 12, we’ve been trying to [get a variety of opportunities],” said Mr. Teraoka. “We’ve been looking for some places that are hiring for employment- part time employment especially- all the way to places that might offer internships, and then more so “hey, think about this career now, so you can start looking and take courses and getting into more volunteer opportunities while in high school, and then of course what you should do once you get to college, if college is something you have to take.””

“We’ve also invited apprenticeships, so those are opportunities for students that “hey, I don’t want to go the traditional college path out of high school, but I want to start working and getting paid”… and then of course the military options as well.”

As a result, the number of employers at the recent event was higher than last year, demonstrating the diverse career opportunities that Hawaii offers. Representatives were eager to share about the type of work they do in their respective fields.

“Some of my job responsibilities include coordinating projects, drawing planned sections and elevations, coordinating with consultants like electrical and structural engineers- kind of managing the building process,” said Ireland Castillo, a project coordinator at WCIT Architecture.

The various presenters all agreed that lifetime careers can stem from current hobbies and passions.

“I think if you’re interested in building, creating things- arts, Legos, Minecraft- as a kid, I think you gotta just take a dive and see if architecture is for you… there’s a lot of architecture in the world,” said Castillo.

However, many also stressed the importance of continuing to seek out a quality education, especially for jobs that require an employee to attend college.

“If you want to go into the weather field, definitely get a degree in meteorology… keep going to school, learn a little bit about science,” said National Weather Service worker John Villada. “Just be interested in the weather, be interested in science, and stay in school.”

Above all, the presenters were united in genuine enthusiasm for their own work, and a sense of empowerment from their careers.

“Just look around you. Every building you see around you our building trades touched- painting, glazing, drywall finish and flooring. Even the carpenters or the bricklayers or the laborers union, we all build America, we all build Hawaii,” said a representative of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

“And now, more than ever, what they’ve done with the union is they’ve really fought hard over the years to get liveable wages for our craftsmen and women, to get their pay to where they can not just survive but actually thrive.”

Such a joy in their occupations was echoed across a plethora of fields.

“Oh, it’s fantastic, I love it, it’s a great job. I’ve been working here for about four years here in Hawaii,” said Villada regarding his meteorology work. “Good people, again, there’s a lot of different locations you can go to, and a lot of different offices all across the country… it’s great.”

In the wake of this year’s Career Fair, the College and Career staff hope to expand opportunities for students to better plan for their futures.

“We’re slowly learning about more careers, as far as the outlook of what that’s gonna look like for you folks in the future, just with the evolving nature of how careers have changed over the past 10, 20 years- hence the reason we decided let’s get mock interviews,” said Mr. Teraoka. “We’re looking at a few different ideas for next year, where we can continue to get the community involved and interact with the students.”

“We know that percentage-wise, families still try their best to push their students to attend college after high school- that’s never been a major problem, to get students to really consider that as a post-high option. What we’re trying to do now is expand on; why is college something that you should be doing,” he said. “That’s all we’re looking for. We’re looking for “hey, if you haven’t heard about it, we want you to know about it, and then you can make a decision if that’s something you feel is worth pursuing.””

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Peter Vahsen
Peter Vahsen, Editor-in-Chief
Peter Vahsen is a junior at Kaiser High School and this is his third year in the school newspaper. From a young age, he’s been an avid reader. He also enjoys writing, and joined the school newspaper last year to get to do this more. He has been a writer for the newspaper since then, and has covered news, written opinion pieces, and done features of different events. In his free time, Peter cooks and bakes a lot. He enjoys soccer and has played the piano for several years.
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