Scholarship organization helps local youth prepare for employment

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (NBC12) - Just one day after the national unemployment rate reaches it's highest point in 25 years, a local scholarship organization is working to help students get their foot in the door.

The Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, or GRASP kicked off their first annual College and Career fair with a charity motorcycle ride Saturday to benefit the organization.

But this ride was far from the main focus.

Dozens of colleges, universities, and employers set up shop to targeting local youth.

Jannet Dowling is a manager at Citi Trends clothing store in Henrico.

She says the store caters to young people so it's good to have young people working there.

Plus it can be a stepping stone for students or just-graduated workers.

Especially those looking to break into the fashion world.

"It actually helps them get into that field that they might want to be in," she said. "Merchandising, buying, anything dealing with fashion usually it's good to try and get a little hands on experience with so that why we are out here trying to offer it."

We also learned that in this economy, colleges and universities are pushing two things harder than ever: staying in school and completing internships, the earlier the better.

"Right now in the economy you are going to be faced with a more competitive type of environment, so you really have to continue to get that education and try to get that work experience," said Bryant Stratton University spokesperson Montique Bowser.

Event leaders also had resources available to discuss funding options for students in these tough times.

"Many of our students parents have gotten laid off, so they don't know if they can fund it, or may think they don't even have the option to go," said GRASP Executive Director Sarah Huggins.

GRASP organizers are hoping to make the college and career fair an annual event.

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