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Merrimack sixth graders interview for jobs in Enterprise City

By Staff | Mar 18, 2015

MERRIMACK – Students at the Mastricola Upper Elementary School in Merrimack met with community members, school staff and teachers to begin interviewing for their first jobs on March 17.

The students are preparing for the May day trip to Enterprise City in Dover. Enterprise City is a social studies and economics project developed by educators to help prepare students for life after school.

“It’s a wonderful program. It’s real life learning for them, they’ll understand more about the world around them and where their part is in it,” said Mastricola Principal Marsha McGill.

What started as a pilot program at the middle school level evolved into a semester-long social studies and economics project for Mastricola sixth graders.

“It really covers the economics component of our social studies curriculum,” said McGill.

The exercise is also many students’ first introduction to the job application process.

“We’re hoping they’ll remember these skills; and there are some programs at the high school where they’ll learn this again.”

Students began preparing for the job interviews right after winter break. “About six to eight weeks prior to the visit, they start to learn about the city, the jobs, and their part in it. They develop resumes, job applications, they learn about all the aspects of a job and how to present yourself in an interview,” said McGill.

Students interview for a variety of jobs in Enterprise City, from snack shop owner to police officer and president.

“They have to learn about all these positions, and they create resumes with the help of the computer education teacher. There’s a lot of preliminary work ahead of time,” said McGill.

Students are asked to consider how they play their part in a city, she said.

For the trip in May, students are broken into teams and they spend the day in Dover performing their jobs as a mini society. “They spend the entire day there, working and earning a salary. Each of them works for a company or business, they talk about how to collaborate, how to run a business,” she said.

The project takes the students beyond the day-to-day tasks of a job. “They have to fund the business and run it for the day,” said McGill. Students work on applying for business loans and work with accounting problems and adult volunteers to keep their businesses profitable.

Students learn to take the job experience they have, such as babysitting, dog walking, and apply it to jobs in Enterprise City.

On March 17, community members and teachers interviewed students for jobs ranging from Enterprise City President to the position of popcorn popper at the snack shop. The sixth grade interviewees brought resumes, job applications and practiced interview skills through several rounds of meetings with volunteers.

At the end of the process, students are matched with one of three possible jobs they chose to explore.

McGill said the program’s success is a credit to Mastricola social studies facilitator Louis Mailloux, who makes contact with the chamber of commerce and community volunteers.

Student interviews are scheduled to continue through March 19.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402, tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_TinaF.

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