Questeq Participates in Mock Interviews at BCCTC

Over eight years ago I had the opportunity to begin conducting mock interviews at the Beaver County Career & Technology Center to help students prepare for the real world. I was introduced to this opportunity by my friend, Renee Digiacomo, who teaches Business Information Systems and she asked me to help. She had the idea of preparing students for the real world by using business leaders she knew to help with the interview process. There are three of us who have been doing the interviews over the years: myself, Director of Business Administration here at Questeq; Deb Gray, owner of Express Professionals; and April McShane, Territory Manager of the Bradford Institute.

Jessica Main Conducts Mock Interview

Photo courtesy of Beaver County Career & Technology Center

The process of the mock interview goes as follows: the students are first prepped weeks ahead of time with a mock job opening and job description that they must use to prepare for the interview. Next, they work on their resumes, letters of intention, and study the criteria that they will be judged upon during the interview process. While students prepare for their interview, we create score sheets that vary in criteria from proper business attire, resume portfolio, and ability to answer and ask questions. Each student is brought into the classroom where our panel conducts interviews. Once the interviews are completed and scored, we bring the students back in and discuss with them mistakes and give advice on how they can do better. The student with the highest score is awarded the job.

There are so many things the students gain from this; courage and confidence are two that really stand out to me. I remember one incident where our influence on a student was extremely powerful: I was out to dinner and our waitress said that she did a mock interview with me and it helped her get the job that she wanted. She thanked me for all the help we gave her, and it was one of the reasons she beat out the competition. That was a great feeling to hear that she took to heart what she had learned and how the class helped her for the real world. We sometimes see repeat students since they may be sophomores or juniors in previous interviews. It’s fun when they return, and we see the improvements they made from last year.

Through the years I have learned the value of the entire interview process. There is so much competition in today’s job market and it’s extremely important to differentiate yourself and show the employer that you are the person for the job they are offering. Also, it is so important to research the company you want to work for because in the end, the employer wants people committed and enthusiastic to work for their company!

Finally, I would like to add that as a panel of interviewers we are not moderate just because they are students. We are tough in our criticisms and we do that to get the students to think about the reality of their future career path. It is a great teaching tool and I am honored to be a part of it every year!

Questeq Supports Video Conference Program

Questeq customer, Cornell School District and their elementary third graders had a very special visit with children’s author, Megan McDonald on May 3rd. With the support of Candlewick Press, Questeq, and several other partner organizations, the best-selling author was available to speak to students and sign books in their classrooms.

Ms. McDonald, 58, has 35 million books in print, including the popular Judy Moody franchise. She also has written the Julie Albright series of American Girl books, as well as dozens of others.

A longtime California resident, she returned to her roots in Pittsburgh’s North Hills area. Following the program at Cornell Elementary, Megan also spoke with patrons at the Northland Public Library in McCandless, where she once worked as a teenager.

Megan’s program at Cornell was webcast to include students and patrons across the globe. An estimated 40,000 students in over 500 classrooms participated in the video conference program hosted at Cornell Elementary, with live questions from students in Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky, Alaska, and Vancouver. The Cornell third graders were on the edges of their seats and as they left their classroom that Wednesday, several proclaimed, “Best day ever.“

Books were central to Ms. McDonald and her four older sisters. Her father, an ironworker who worked on the Fort Duquesne and Andy Warhol bridges, dropped out of school at 14 to help support his family after his father died. Books filled in for him where formal schooling left off.

There was one rule in their house: no books at the dinner table. And when her father suspected that rule was being broken, the sisters knew the threat: “If I catch you reading, I’m going to tear out the last page and you’ll never know the ending.”

Other than the one prized hardback book each girl got for Christmas, their reading material came from weekly trips to the big green bookmobile that would visit the neighborhood from the Carnegie Library.

That experience set Ms. McDonald on route to becoming a children’s librarian and author. The author visit archive can be viewed at: https://kinber.njvid.net/show.php?pid=njcore:103551.

The program at Cornell Elementary was coordinated through Mr. Kris Hupp, Director of Technology & Instructional Innovation, Candlewick Press, Questeq, and KINBER, with the support of Stephanie Flom of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures.

This is part of a series of classroom programs supported by Questeq.

Questeq Sponsors 2017 Roberto Brain Health Challenge

Questeq is always looking for and investing in programs that engage and impact students, inside and outside of the classroom. This year, we were pleased to sponsor the 2017 Roberto Brain Health Challenge program. The program is “…the fun and revolutionary app from RC21X. You play a series of video games that challenge different parts of your brain. Memory, balance, decision making and reaction time all are included. Each session creates a detailed report that tells you how well your brain is performing.”

On June 14th, students from Moon Area, West Mifflin Area and Hopewell Area School Districts received cash prizes for participating in the spring challenge. Questeq CEO, Jeff Main, attended the Moon Area and West Mifflin Area scholarship ceremonies to present the awards to the students.

You can learn more about the Roberto Brain Health Challenge by visiting their website.

Click here to read about the challenge and scholarship recipients at Moon Area High School.

CEO, Jeff Main, presents award checks to Moon Area High School.

In addition to the Roberto Brain Health Challenge, Questeq recently awarded six, $1000.00 scholarships to graduating seniors attending postsecondary programs in the fall. We also were pleased to sponsor The Challenge Program for students at the Beaver County Career & Technology Center for the 2016-17 school year. Read about our sponsorship of The Challenge Program and the BCCTC student named Student of the Year.

At Questeq, we are dedicated to reinvesting back into our partner schools through sponsorships, scholarships and other beneficial student programs.

BCCTC Student Named Student of the Year

Questeq looks for many ways to help our customer sites and community. We partnered with a special program this year called The Challenge Program.  The Challenge Program has a unique mission of connecting businesses with students, to motivate them to develop solid work habits required to succeed in school and in their future careers.  When Questeq became a partner, we chose to work with one of our long-time customer sites, Beaver County Career & Technology Center in Monaca, PA.  Jeff Main, Questeq’s CEO, and I participated in 6 assemblies back in September 2016. We demonstrated how students could win monetary prizes if they followed the core principals of The Challenge Program.  These principals are Attendance, STEM, Community Service, Academic Improvement and Academic Excellence.  Students who achieve in these categories receive cash prizes at the end of the year.  There is also one monetary award of $1,000.00 given to the Student of the Year. Students in every district participating in The Challenge Program compete to be named Student of the Year.

Recently we learned that one of the BCCTC students accepted the challenge, focused on the grand prize and in the end, won the 2017 Student of the Year award!

2017 Student of the Year Award

This award is given to a student who shares their story about how The Challenge Program changed their outlook, behavior and attitude.  They also need to explain how the business partner helped them overcome obstacles to begin a positive path to a better future.  This award is given at a special event called the Crystal Owl Gala.  I attended this gala at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall on April 27, 2017. The BCCTC student was one of the 3 finalists competing for the award.  I was overwhelmed with emotion when he was chosen as the 2017 Student of the Year! Sitting with his family and school administrators was a proud moment for me in my 20 years with Questeq.  To see how we made a difference in this young man’s life is what makes me love our company and what we do to help our community!

We wrote about our involvement with The Challenge Program earlier this year. You can read The Challenge Program’s official press release here.

 

Questeq Participating in March of Dimes Walk

On Sunday, April 30 2017, Questeq will be participating in the March of Dimes – March for Babies. The march will take place at Heinz Field (100 Art Rooney Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212). Registration begins at 8:30am, with the 3.1-mile walk beginning at 9:30am.

Follow the link below if you are interested in making a donation or participating in the walk.

http://www.marchforbabies.org/questeq

We hope to see you there!