Why Bostons citywide job fair is more important than you might think
On April 22nd, the City of Boston held its 2023 Youth Jobs and Resource Fair. The event was meant to give teens and young adults in Boston opportunities to learn about paid opportunities for the summer and beyond, while also providing food, entertainment, and connection in the Boston community. As a teen considering summer jobs for myself, I went to the fair to see if this is a good way to help youth get jobs while still having a fun way to spend their weekends. After going, I can definitely say that it was a great resource for finding teen jobs.
The fair started out strong with vendors and someone in a Stitch costume promoting the event outside the Reggie Lewis Center. People were milling about and heading inside to learn all about the teen jobs. Inside there were tons of people working for the city helping people register and telling them where to go. It was super helpful to have so many people directing everything and providing information, especially considering how scattered and crowded the event was. The helpfulness continued once I was inside the main job fair. There was a table full of staff giving out swag bags and describing all the raffles and other events at the fair, including a BINGO game that encouraged people to check out all different types of jobs and really got people to see the whole fair.
All the resources at the fair were super helpful too. Everyone was incredibly friendly and talked in so much detail about the jobs they were taking applications for. They all had fliers and QR codes that made applying for any job super easy and everyone was willing to answer a ton of questions. It really felt like everyone was there to support teens looking for employment and they made all their jobs seem super fun. I got to learn about so many amazing opportunities that I never would have found out about otherwise, from day camps that little kids would enjoy to community service at homeless shelters to incredible paid internships in fields ranging from healthcare to the arts. The jobs I learned about at this fair were amazing and I’m so grateful that teens got to have this opportunity and learn about all these amazing activities.
Additionally, the fair was super helpful in helping teens get resources to apply for activities and jobs. There was a whole station of computers that were set up so students could apply to Success Link jobs and people around to direct teens through the application process. I love that they had this resource: it made it so easy for teens to get any of their questions answered and it created accessibility in applications for people who might not have consistent internet access. I always love to see when community organizations provide resources like technology that are so crucial for so many aspects of people’s lives and I’m so glad that this event had those resources available. On top of that, many stations had conditional job applications available for people to fill out if they found a program they really clicked with, which makes the application process so much easier for a lot of people and to me felt very professional and concrete.
Sadly, not all aspects of the fair were as amazing as the job booths and application resources. The entertainment and food provided were lacking. Obviously, the event was a job fair and I didn’t expect there to be a whole production with food trucks and bouncy castles, and a live band, but the entertainment was very underwhelming compared to how the event had been advertised to teens. Nearly every teen in Boston got emails about the event and how it would have games, free food, and music so it was a little disappointing to go and only see a DJ playing 2010s pop music and a stand handing out chips and ice pops. Again, the fair didn’t need high entertainment, but if they were going to make it such a selling point of the event then they could have put in a bit more effort.
Overall this job fair was a very good experience and I’m glad I got to go. I got to learn about a ton of job experiences that I don’t think I would have found out about if I was just looking online or something. It was also really nice to get to talk to people about their programs and ask questions to figure out what jobs were a good fit. This event wasn’t the fun-packed fair that was advertised, but it was still very helpful for learning about job opportunities and I hope they host more in the future. If they do, I would totally recommend any teens go and check out all the job opportunities they have. And as for this summer, if you’re looking for a job, feel free to apply to SJI and join the TiP community.