The theme of the June 13, 2017 Summer Transition Academy was “Informational Interviews.” Instructors Jamie and Nancy introduced the basics of completing informational interviews to the VRS Transition Academy participants. During Informational interviews, the job-seeker is permitted to ask employers questions about their personal experiences on the job. Informational interviews are important, because they give individuals who are exploring the world of work, the opportunity to access a worker’s first-hand information about the education requirements, challenges, and benefits of pursuing a career in a particular industry.
After explaining how to conduct an informational interview, the students were divided into four separate groups to practice. Group #4 (Ashley, Dalton and Zoey) had the opportunity to interview Karen, an interpreter for the deaf and blind. Karen told Ashley that she first became interested in becoming an interpreter on the day that she walked into a local church and was moved to tears by the sight of a pastor leading a congregation of deaf people in prayer and worship. Karen also shared with Zoe that the most difficult part of her job was being unable to become certified in dual sensory loss interpretation, due to the lack of educational resources available in Georgia.
During lunch, our low vision specialist Dr. Jon Forche, paid us a visit and shared with the participants that the greatest thing about his job with VRS was that it combined both his love of optometry with his passion for psychology. Both Dr. Forche and his intern Colleen answered questions from the group regarding how they came to choose the field of Optometry for their career.
Zoe Romocki was interviewed as the Participant of the Week. Zoe is a rising Junior at Lassiter High School, who has astigmatism. She learned about the VRS Transition Academy through her mobility trainer. The reason Zoe enrolled in this course, was to learn some of the skills that would make her marketable in the workforce. Zoe shared that after learning about Informational Interviews, she feels like she’s off to a great start. Zoe was able to practice her new skills when she visited the Smyrna Community Center, library and City Hall during this week’s afternoon session.
After lunch, the participants divided into smaller groups to practice their new informational interviewing skills within local community businesses. One group visited Alpine Sign & Graphics Studio to work on the class logo with owner, Steve Gardner. Steve shared an overview of how his career progressed to him being the owner of his studio. The class received information on how one can have multiple careers over their lifetime.
A second group remained at VRS to interview Richard Hunt, owner of OTG-IT Consulting. Richard showed the students how to build a PC from scratch, which they loved!
He shared that one of the challenges of his job was the need to travel a lot, since many PC issues are unsolvable remotely. Nonetheless, Richard insisted that the thrill of working with technology was worth the trouble. Another group visited the Downtown Smyrna District where they learned about different Smyrna City careers. And, the last group was hosted by Uncle Maddio’s Pizza (Smyrna), where they were shown how a restaurant is run and the various types of jobs involved in that business. These folks delivered several pizza boxes that had been assembled by the transition group and the VRS Job Readiness classes.