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Cadets learn at Mock Job Interviews

After months of early morning wake-ups, grueling physical activity and challenging classroom exams, a crowded drill floor often intimidates cadets at the Washington Youth Academy the most. With just tables along the edges of the room, cadets have to convince a stranger that they’re the best person for a hypothetical job.

During week 17 in the cycle, cadets prepare for and conduct “mock interviews,” a highly anticipated day that will affect their character, confidence and ability to face one of their most important life experiences: post academy life.

“Mock Interviews help satisfy the job skills core component, one of eight core components that the cadets must demonstrate mastery in to successfully complete the program,” said Karen Ludy, a counselor with the Washington Youth Academy.

The job skills training component includes:

  • Career Exploration - where staff prepare cadets for long-term gainful employment.
  • Career, College and Recruiter Day – which gives cadets familiarization with some of the opportunities that are available around Washington state.
  • Resume Building – getting cadets familiar with sharing their resume with prospective employers in what can be a very competitive atmosphere in their communities.
  • Mock Interviews – community members come together, volunteering time to help cadets get comfortable with interviewing for jobs. Cadets dress professionally, interview for positions they are interested in obtaining and receive scores based on how they perform.

“Cadets use class time practice sessions to prepare,” said Ludy. “They take turns asking and answering interview questions.”

“It pays off when you see a cadet walk out of the interview with a big smile and a sigh of relief,” Ludy continued. “They are proud to see their interviewer feedback forms with helpful comments for successful future interviews.”

Senior Master Sgt. Danielle Osborn volunteered during cycle 19-2 to conduct mock interviews.

“I feel drawn toward helping our youth succeed because as a parent, I know it takes everyone pulling together to make someone succeed,” said Osborn.

Osborn’s son had struggles in school and needed more structure. After a talk with former Senior Enlisted Leader Command Chief Master Sgt (Ret.) Trish Almond, Osborne reached out to the youth academy for help. She has continued to support the youth academy through volunteering for the mock interviews.

“It is such a rewarding experience, and humbles you,” said Osborn. “To see these struggling teens turn their lives around in such a short period of time, I am truly blessed to be part of the process.”

Individuals that are interested in volunteering to assist with future cycle’s mock interviews can reach out to Karen Ludy for more information at