Sunday, July 29, 2001

Job fair draws about 100 hopefuls

Head Start program offers training

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Tiffany Resses likes being around children. She likes to baby sit. She has worked at a Wendy's. Now she sat before a panel of three for her second and final interview of the day.

        Ms. Resses arrived at the Head Start offices in Walnut Hills promptly at 9 a.m. Saturday. By the time she was finished, shortly after noon, she had been tentatively offered a job — as an assistant cook.

        On Saturday, close to 100 people came to the Head Start offices for a job fair that was hiring people “on the spot” for more than 40 openings in the program, which serves about 4,700 preschool children and their families in Hamilton County.

        “I like to work with kids, I like baby sitting,” said Ms. Resses, who lives in Bond Hill and is unemployed. “My aunt told me about this (job fair). I want to work.”

        What she doesn't know about nutrition, she will learn in training. She will work with a veteran cook on the job, preparing meals for children in Head Start, a federal program for children from low-income families, administered by the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA).

        The whole point of Head Start is to give children a shot of sticking with their education, says Verline Dotson, Head Start director.

        “The ultimate goal is these children will not drop out of school in the future,” said Ms. Dotson. “It will have an impact on things like teen pregnancy and violence in our community.”

        While applicants interviewed for positions such as teachers, teaching assistants, family service workers, assistant cooks and drivers, most everyone was asked about teaching children.

        Ms. Resses was interviewed by Ms. Dotson, Katrina Mundy, human resources director for CAA, and Charles Ramsey Jr., a Head Start parent who participates in the interviewing process.

        She was asked why she applied for the job, what she thought her best strength was — “Meeting people and learning more,” she told them — how she felt about working with children and parents, and whether she would be willing to learn about nutrition.

        Mr. Ramsey, whose son, Charles J. Ramsey III, 4, is a Head Start student, was impressed with Ms. Resses.

        “It's good that you're willing to learn,” Mr. Ramsey, of Springfield Township, told Ms. Resses. “I like your personality — it's real bubbly.”


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