The Recruiting and Retention Team of the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, Topeka, hosted a Career Fair for area high school students April 26. Schools represented at the fair included Burlingame High School, Highland Park, Shawnee Heights, Topeka High, Topeka West, Washburn Rural, and Wabaunsee High School.
“This is an event that we've held in the past, but traditionally had been held on a drill weekend,” said Master Sgt. Patrick Heptinstall, 190th ARW, Recruiting Flight chief. “We started planning in late February to change the style of the event from a base tour to a career fair that showed off each squadron and their unique specialties.”
“We wanted a new way to show off the 190th ARW and KSANG,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Johnston, 190th ARW, Retention Office manager. “Many of the students had never heard of the Air Guard, and this was the perfect way to display our unit and engage with our community while introducing the students to a new and exciting career opportunity.”
“190th Airmen had the opportunity to tell their story and talk about the experiences that allowed them to excel personally and professionally,” said Heptinstall. “It's important to show our young community members how the Airmen at the 190th are just like them, living in and working as part of their own community.”
Eighty-six students attended the event along with 17 counselors and teachers.
“Each recruiter was responsible for coordinating with the schools in their area of responsibility to ensure that we had maximum participation,” said Heptinstall. “We also worked with shop points of contact to design a set of challenge questions that encouraged the students to engage in conversation with the squadron representatives.”
“We had great counselors and school administrator support,” said Staff Sgt. Emily Kyle, 190th ARW, Recruiting command support staff. “Even though this event was a bit different, we had good wing participation and unit members were excited to display and talk about their areas and opportunities. We are planning on hosting a similar event in the fall and look forward to increasing our participation.”