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Mirada Senior, left, a student at Williston High School, was one of a number of students at Wednesday's Job Services Job Fair.

Mirada Senior had an “oh wow” moment at the Williston Job Fair Wednesday night.

“I always knew we have a lot of oilfield jobs,” she said. “but there were so many of those jobs available. So many openings. Wow.”

They would be awesome for some of the friends the Williston High School student had come to the job fair with, she thought, but she had a much different interest. And at first she wasn’t seeing it anywhere.

“I have always been interested in psychology and mental health,” she said, as she and her mother, Deanna Senior, walked around the Williston Job Fair Wednesday afternoon.

There were 95 different employers at Williston’s fair, and were to be 72 employers at the Watford CIty job fair today. Between the two job fairs, that’s 106 employers with upwards of 2,000 job openings on the table. Many of those are indeed all about the oilfield. Driving trucks. Fixing trucks. Plant operators. Pipeline workers. Rig service crews and more.

That wasn’t for Mirada, and, at first glance, she had the sinking feeling that what she wanted wasn’t, after all, represented at the Job Fair.

It was there, though. She just had to take a deeper dive into the fair to find it.

There was a booth, for example, with occupational therapy and physical therapy jobs. That was closer to her interests, though still not quite what she was looking for.

She and her mother kept going. And there, at long last, found something with a lot of promise. Lutheran Social Services happens to have summer internships available in exactly the areas that Mirada is most interested in.

Mirada was one of about 30 juniors and seniors from Williston High school invited to Williston’s annual spring job fair, to learn more about the different career opportunities available in the area, as well as their educational requirements.

The students were all identified with white name tags and were encouraged to bring parents along. That way companies would know they were talking to a student about future opportunities, and parents could help make sure each student understood what kind of education and training are necessary for the positions that seemed interesting.

By the end of the fair, Mirada said she was excited about the opportunity she had found. It would be a chance to broaden her skills, and get some hands-on experience in the career she believes she will most likely pursue once she graduates.

That was exactly the kind of thing Cindy Sanford, office manager for Williston Job ServicesND, had in mind when she put out the invitation to Williston High School juniors and seniors.

“Sixty-three percent of kids go where their parents tell them to go,” Sanford said. “We have to start educating our students at an earlier age on what is available, because you don’t know what you don’t know. This will be a great opportunity for them to look around and ask some good questions.”

Mirada and her peers from Williston High weren’t the only job fair participants who wondered if the job fair had something for them. Sara Melgoza and Julie Gutierrez, of Houston, were also put off initially by what seemed to them a job fair dominated by positions for men. The two came to Williston for work because they have boyfriends already employed in the oil and gas industry, but they are not interested in that line of work themselves.

“Is there going to be anything here for women?” Gutierrez wondered.

But with a little time and a few questions, the two found that there were in fact many office-type jobs that they might be interested in.

Laurie Carthew, an HR Recruiter with MBI, was among oilfield companies encouraging the two to keep checking back with them for office positions that either were open now, or that might be opening soon.

As she spoke, Carthew had a resume, folded in half, that she was taking back for her files. She has a stash of resumes that indicate talent, she admitted, and she goes to that first when she needs to fill positions.  

“A resume can really help with something like this,” she said.


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