ANKENY — Creston’s iJAG (Iowa Jobs for Americas Graduates) program recently won top honors at the Career Development Conference held here May 1.
Students in the program include Tiffany Scott, Taquisha Williams, Kimba Shaw, Paige O’Neall, Toni VanScoy and Samantha Reed. This group competed against 40 other programs across the state.
They competed in job preparedness, customer service, community service awareness, decision making, critical thinking, employee preparedness, public speaking and banner presentation.
“This is the first time the program has placed first at state,” Hartman said. “I was so proud of this group. I don’t even know if our program had placed in the past, let alone first. We’ve worked with Iowa Workforce Development, which definitely helped them, and we worked hard to learn skills that business owners and human resource officers are wanting from employees.”
Scott competed in the critical thinking competition, surviving three rounds of judging to place third overall. Scott was given a situation that commonly occurs in the workplace, then had five minute to create a three-minute speech that addressed the problem and gave two solutions.
“She also had to devise a way to avoid a recurrence of that problem,” Hartman said.
Williams competed in decision making — similar to the critical thinking event — except she wrote an essay that identified a problem in the workplace and solutions.
“She represented us very well,” Hartman said.
Shaw and O’Neall both placed in the top eight in the employee prep competition which simulated applying for a job. They both sent in their résumé and cover letters prior to the event and were both interviewed at the conference.
Both placed high enough to earn points toward the final team score.
VanScoy delivered a signature event speech at the conference, which depicted a fun-run through the city of Creston that highlighted area businesses and manufacturing plants, culminating with a carnival atmosphere job fair at McKinley Park.
Creston’s iJAG program also earned first place in the paper/fabric banner competition with a banner depicting events that occur in Creston. The banner was presented by Samantha Reed and VanScoy.
Ashley Cardenas and Samantha Ott helped design and paint the banner.