CMMA OPEN HOUSE AND CAREER NIGHT BEST PRACTICES

Written by Harry Leaver

October 28, 2021

Business is better when we work together!

Why should my business consider hosting an Open House & Career Night event?

  • This event can provide a general awareness of local employers and their impact on the community and beyond.  There are many businesses in the CMMA, and they are good for the students and families of our community.
  • This is a way to promote the skilled trades so students and parents see that getting skilled trades training and employment is a positive choice – a choice that may lead them back to you!
  • There are 11th and 12th grade students who may choose to pursue a skilled trade through a CTE class and become better prepared to be a valuable employee.
  •  7th -10th grade students may see a career option that could lead them to a training plan through their high school experience.
  • As parents attend with students, they can discover local career opportunities for themselves and may be able to meet an immediate need within your company.
  • Seeing your facility can break down the stereotypes of manufacturing and show a career in manufacturing as a positive option.
  • Students and parents can see that there are training options other than seeking a 4-year degree that can lead them to a career in manufacturing with the development of a specific skill set in a short period.
  • You could couple this event with an Employee Family Night and invite two target audiences for the work of one.
  • Ultimately, this is a way to attract talent to become employees in your business.  There could be a return on this investment from immediate or future hires.
  • This event can “plant the seed of interest” in your company!

 

If I choose to host an Open House & Career Night, what should I expect?

  • Generally, these events are targeted at 7th-12th grade students and their parents.
  • Data from companies who have already hosted these events indicate that you can expect between 120 and 150 people total with 40-60 students between 7th and 12th grade. 
  • You can expect that for the benefits mentioned above, you will have an investment of time and money to host this event.  These investments are based on the collective best practice of CMMA members that have already hosted.
  • You can expect that the CMMA and member companies that have already hosted will provide as much support as possible.  This support will include specific planning suggestions as well as sample materials.
  • You can expect the attendees will be exposed to your company but share that experience with members in the community. 

I have decided to host an Open House & Career Night, but I do not even know where to start!  Can I get some help?

  • In addition to the information/suggestions provided, specific help can be elicited by the CMMA and member companies that have already hosted.
  • You will need a lot of planning time.  You should start planning at least 3 months prior to the event.
  • You need to develop how you are going to message this event to your staff.  How will you sell this to your employees as a worthwhile event?
  • You may want to consider having a theme that can link the various aspects of your operation together.
  • When trying to pick a date, communicate with the schools to avoid conflicts as best possible.
  • You will need to do significant promotion for the event.  The following strategies seem to work well.
    • Work with the CTE and local school staff to go directly to classes and promote directly to the students.  If you would feel uncomfortable presenting in the school environment, the CMMA can provide some help!
      • The presentation should be about 10 minutes – Intro of self and Company, Promotional Video (the CMMA can help with this), Handout/Flyer for the event, Q&A
    • Piggyback promotion onto events already scheduled at the school.
    • Distribute an appealing flyer to the schools and have them also post it to social media.
    • Promote through your employees.
    • Promote through the RESD superintendent, principal, and counselor meetings.
  • You will want to have a sense of how many are planning to attend so have a pre-registration process.
    • It seems to work best to have a web-based registration through either the company web page or a survey application like Google Forms.  The CMMA can help with this if you need help.
    • It works well to have an incentive to get people to register such as having prizes but having to pre-register to be included in a drawing.  If you want everyone to have a chance to win something, you could have two tiers of prizes with something smaller for those who register at the door.
    • Though you want people to pre-register, you should be prepared for some who may be drop-ins so do not let that bother you.
  • Here are some suggestions for the day/night of the event.
    • A very brief agenda might include having food available, having some opening statements, touring the facility, and a brief closing.  The events have been taking about 1.5 to 2 hours.
    • Food is a big hit with the participants.  Of course, this will have to be planned, but you will need to make the eating process arrangements the day of the event.  Member companies that have already hosted these events can help with food suggestions.
    • It is a good idea for the company CEO or HR director to welcome everyone and share a little about the history of the company and what it makes.  Why are you in the community?
    • It can be a very positive thing to have some successful employees provide a brief testimonial about his/her path that led him/her to where they are in the company.
    • Of course, safety is an issue.  So, you must plan what you want to show/demonstrate and how to address safety concerns.  Will you have machines running and people working?  Are there any activities that participants will be able to try?  It is good to have activities that are hands on.  If the students could do a task, have the PPE available.
    • If you are running stations, set a time limit and have a process to notify station leaders when it is time to switch stations.
    • Prizes are a big hit.  If you do prizes, include all students.  If you do a drawing, it has worked to offer students additional tickets for asking good questions or showing engagement.
    • It is a good idea to have handouts that show the types of jobs available at your facility, what skills are needed by the employees, and what is the employment application process.

 

For more information, contact Harry Leaver, CMMA Executive Director at hleaver@centralmichiganmanufacturers.org 

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