Wearing his standard uniform of suit coat and slacks, Willie Barney held open a college lecture hall door, greeting the teenagers streaming out.
“Looking good, man. Good morning. Good morning. Looking good, looking good,” Willie said to the 14- and 15-year-olds who had, as instructed, come dressed for the occasion: a career fair.
Willie had incorporated this career fair into a summer jobs program he helped launch almost a decade ago. And the day’s event at the University of Nebraska at Omaha offered an important firsthand look at the possibilities that awaited these youths, mostly low-income African-American teenagers. Plus it was the youths’ first real test at trying out the firm handshake, the confident ‘Hi-my-name-is’ introduction, and a dressier look.