Teen workshop

A group of local teens listen to Heather Young, Telski’s director of human resources, during the “Intro to the Workplace” workshop Tuesday at the Telluride Middle/High School Bridal Veil Conference Room. The event was the first in a series of employment workshops intended to prepare teens for the Summer Jobs Fair June 1 at the Wilkinson Public Library. (Photo by Vivian Russell)

True North Youth Program hosted the first in a series of employment workshops for teens Tuesday. The workshops are in preparation for the Teen Summer Jobs Fair June 1 at the Wilkinson Public Library. 

The jobs fair and workshop series are community collaborations involving representatives from the business and nonprofit sectors. Nathaniel Waldor, a 16-year-old Telluride High School junior, has been pounding the pavement to help enroll employers. As of press time Thursday afternoon, there are over 20 potential area employers that will participate in the jobs fair, including retail businesses, restaurants, nonprofits, and larger employers, like the Town of Telluride, Town of Mountain Village and Telluride Ski Resort. 

Anyone who has worked with teens, or been a teen employee at one point, understands that there are many lessons to be learned in the workplace, especially if it’s the teen’s first job. That’s why the organizing committee decided to offer a series of workshops to groom potential teen employees in the region. 

Heather Young, Telski’s executive director of human resources, presented the first workshop Tuesday, which covered a wide array of topics, including etiquette and customer service. Nineteen students in grades 8-11 attended the workshop. 

“I learned so much from Heather on how to present myself when applying for a job, and I look forward to my first interview,” 15-year-old Brooke Shifrin said.

Young emphasized the four “Ps” — punctuality, positive attitude, professionalism and patience — that all employers look for.  

Claire Aguilar, 15, said she understands the four Ps, but entering the workforce isn’t all about “being serious” and “making money.”

“It’s about having fun, working with something that hopefully interests you and meeting new people,” she said. “I’m excited to start my first job here in Telluride. I’d love to gain some insight into what it is like to be an adult.”

Tiffany Osborne, Wilkinson reference librarian and Telluride Education Foundation vice president, is one of the key organizers of the True North events. Osborne spoke during the workshop, giving personal examples from her own work experience. She also emphasized that even at our friendly local library, employee promptness is taken seriously and “Telluride time” — or lateness — is not tolerated.

The students then had the opportunity to discuss the meaning of professionalism, and their best and worst customer service experiences.

As a result, Rowen Kelly Warren, 14, said he knows “what’s expected” during the interviewing and hiring process.

“To look your nicest at the interview, always be on time, if not early, and above all else, be professional,” he said.  

Dee Williams — of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services in the Uncompahgre Valley of Western Colorado’s School to Work Alliance program — provided “pocket resumes” (small pre-printed templates) so students could start to craft a synopsis of their work history, skills and extracurricular activities. 

“The most important thing when applying for a job is your presentation,” River Albrecht, 15, said. “I am participating so I don’t have to ask my mom for money. I need a job.”

The next workshop in the series, “Job Application and Resume,” will be held Tuesday at the Telluride Middle/High School District Conference Room. The final workshop, “Interview Skills and Practice,” will take place May 22. For more information or to register for an upcoming event, visit truenorthyouthprogram.org/jobsfair.