Jun 08, 2017
BY ANTHONY LOMBARDI
Life is short – so find a job you love doing and work hard to be great at it.
That was one of the messages a group of young adults heard on Tuesday evening at the inaugural
Miami County Works Youth Employment Workshop.
While the turnout wasn’t as high as organizers had hoped, the summit still provided an opportunity
for attendees to speak with area professionals and gain valuable information and pointers.
“It was successful because the individuals who did come were able to meet with key players in our
community who can offer support,” said Antonia Sawyer, the local systems coordinator for the
Systems of Care Governance Coalition. “We see this event as important, because we want to do
what we can to try and limit or eliminate generational poverty and homelessness that affects every
The summit, which was hosted at Ivy Tech in Peru, started with a group discussion led by Family
Service Association’s Heidi Wright. Wright spoke about the difference between hard skills –
teachable abilities that can be defined and measured – and soft skills – personal attributes that are
less tangible to quantify.
She expressed the importance of bringing soft skills, such as punctuality, respectfulness and
dependability, to the work place, before she had each attendee share a few of their own tips. Wright
also spoke to how crucial it is to be prepared for a job interview, and she did a few mock runs with
“I got a lot of information on how to react in a job interview,” said Brandy Moss, a junior at Peru High
School. “I actually knew very little about it going in.”
After adding to their interviewing skills arsenal, attendees broke into two sections: One group visited
with instructors that focused on such aspects as resumes, certifications and collegelevel education.
The others participated in a roundtable discussion with Miami County YMCA Executive Director
Mark Demchak, McDonald’s General Manger Heather Fuller and Miami County Deputy Prosecutor
Each mentor offered advice during the 30minute or so conversation that’s beneficial to all ages and
walks of life.
Dietrich said it’s important to be adaptable and willing to change – especially with how quickly
advancements in technology can occur.
Fuller, who climbed the corporate ladder from shift employee to GM, wanted the youth to know
that being great at what you do now helps you get to where you eventually want to be.
Said Demchak: You’ll work more than any other activity you do in life besides sleep. You’re only
on this planet for a short period – might as well find something you love to do.
Moss, who wants to own her own restaurant one day, not only got some employment skills from the
seminar – she got a job. Moss said she was hired to work in the garden of Dr. Austina Reed and Vincent
Edmunds, the owners of AcesPLUS Health Strategists in Peru. The pair met Moss while they were on
hand to share their knowledge, and encouraged her to apply for the parttime gig with them.
She applied on Wednesday – and was hired.
Sawyer said the Miami County Works would like to conduct the event semiannually and will have
discussions about hosting the second workshop toward the end of the year.