PEEKSKILL — It’s never too early to encourage students to consider a career in a CSEA-represented job.

That’s what Peekskill City School District Unit President Tim Khuns was thinking as he signed up for a booth at an upcoming career fair at Peekskill Middle School, where Khuns works as a custodian.

With more than 900 students enrolled at the school, Khuns knew the student traffic at the career fair could get the middle school students considering public service as a career goal and sharing information about CSEA-represented jobs with their family members.

“If you start young and realize you’re good with your hands, it doesn’t mean you have to be a doctor to have a good career,” said Khuns. “I graduated from Peekskill High School, came back at age 30 to work here, and I’m making a nice career out of it.”

Students in grades 6, 7 and 8 took turns filing into the school gymnasium to meet the array of workers there representing a vast range of career options. From a reporter at the local weekly newspaper to CSEA-represented workers from the Westchester County Department of Labs & Research, the students learned the ins and outs of many different careers.

At our union’s table, there was information about the different agencies with the state, local government and school districts where CSEA represents workers.

With current recruitment and retention in mind, the handout included web links to various CSEA-represented employers where students’ family members and friends might apply if looking for work.

Khuns also invited CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Kirk Shocker and Occupational Safety and Health Specialist Jane Meunier-Gorman to speak about their respective careers, knowing that labor relations and occupational safety and health are two career options that may not be on students’ radar.

“I thought this was a very good opportunity,” said Khuns. “I want kids to know that they can make good money doing our jobs. Don’t sleep on these careers. My father worked as a custodian here, my brother retired from here, and I’m 20 years in. We need to do more to promote public employment as a career choice.”

While the career fair was a first for Khuns and other unit officers, it’s not the first time they’ve given back to the Peekskill school community. They’ve participated in several outreach efforts, including providing hot chocolate, cookies and other treats for students shortly before Christmas. Khuns said he hopes the unit will continue to step up in that way.

“We’re in the building for the children,” said Khuns. “We’re doing as much as we can to help out.”

— Jessica Ladlee

Above, Peekskill School District Unit custodial and maintenance staff were among the CSEA members and staff who recently participated in a career fair at the Peekskill Middle School. Shown, from left to right, are Peekskill School District Custodial Unit Vice President Ed Adam, Corin Gilleo, Unit President Tim Khuns, James Council, Unit Secretary Bob Paulson, CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Kirk Shocker and CSEA Occupational Safety and Health Specialist Jane Meunier-Gorman.


About Author

Jessica Ladlee is the communications specialist for CSEA's Southern Region. A graduate of Boston University, Ladlee is an award-winning journalist who worked as a newspaper editor before joining the CSEA communications team in 2004. She is passionate about the opportunities unions provide for people to join the middle class, something her grandmother did as a Rockland County CSEA member over 50 years ago.

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