BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Campbell Middle School is trying to do its part to help residents living near the school find jobs.
The school will bring in 25 local businesses and companies on Friday, Oct. 27, for a job fair in its cafeteria. The job fair, will be 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the school, 625 S. Keech St.
“We know that there is a need for families to find employment. Since we have good relationships with some of our businesses partners, we felt that we could bring in resources to help support those in the community find jobs,” Dr. Jerry L. Picott, principal of Campbell Middle School told the Daytona Times this week.
Campbell is located in the heart of the Daytona’s Black community. There are 777 students enrolled at Campbell and 64 percent of them are Black.
African-American unemployment numbers are higher than other ethnicities. The unemployment rate for Blacks in September was 7 percent compared with 3.7 percent for Whites and 5.1 percent for Hispanics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall latest jobless rate in September was 4.2 percent. Volusia County’s jobless rate is 4.3 percent.
“A lot of the families we are coming in contact with are not being employed because they may have been arrested, have a previous record or some other stipulation that won’t allow a company to hire them,” Picott explained.
“We also want to help those who may have things that may prevent them from getting hired. We have ways of helping them.”
Job fair participants will include Daytona State College, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Goodwill, Launch Federal Credit Union, Hope Harbor Therapies and Sandalwood Nursing Center.
Job fairs at middle schools aren’t common as most job fairs at educational institutions are held at colleges and universities.
Picott commented, “I am not sure about other schools. This is our first time ever trying to do this. We don’t know how it’s going to look. We are anticipating for it to be a breakthrough for something bigger to come.
“We may do another one next semester. I am not sure about other schools, but this is my home, my community and my family. I try to bring initiatives to our school that I know the community needs.’’
‘The community school’
Campbell is rebranding itself as the community school, improving its academic standing, and reaching out to help its surrounding community.
“Campbell is the community school for Daytona Beach. It has been around for 100 plus years and has provided services to several generations of people. This school is one of the most recognized and respected educational resources that Daytona Beach has had in the history of education,” Picott related.
“We have to set the standards for our kids, but the community as well. We will set the standard educationally but we will be the school that the community deserves.”
More to come
The school has held several events with a large community presence this year, including orientation, a parents’ night and a community festival.
More events are in the works.
“Everything that we have done this year that brought us with our community has been a packed housed. We will take the show on the road to the Dickerson Center in the near future. We are going to the community. We are going to our community,” Picott shared.
“We are also looking to start a G.E.D. program to help families as well. Another event we will have is a FACT Fair, which will help families with services so that they can help their children in education. That will likely occur later next month.’’
Just a year ago, Campbell was in danger of being taken over by the Florida Board of Education.
The school received a “D’’ grade rating for three straight years. Last year, that grade moved up to a “C.’’
The school has taken new academic initiatives such as implementing career technology education.
Campbell has three career academies, which are performing arts; culinary arts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Next year, career academies covering law and government, science and medicine as well as business and entrepreneurship will be provided.
“We must prepare our kids for careers. Our kids should also understand that they can get their own resources and don’t have to work for people,’’ Picott stated.
‘The great equalizer’
The principal also touted the importance of preparing students early for careers.
Picott explained, “Most of the professionals in our community have a college degree. For you to compete in most cities, education is paramount. It’s called the great equalizer.
“You will not get a fair share with a professional salary without an education. At Campbell since we realized that we have to play catch up, we have gone on the offense with some of the programs we’ve added,’’ Picott added.