DuBois career event helps prepare students to enter the workforce

Students lined up at the career fair.

Students lined up to receive folders, portfolios and other tools to aid them on their job search before meeting with potential employers at the career fair.

Credit: Steve Harmic

DUBOIS, Pa. — Nearly 100 students at Penn State DuBois signed up for a unique opportunity to help plan and prepare for their careers March 29 at the campus Networking Luncheon and Career Fair, organized by the campus Office of Career Services.

More than 50 companies looking to recruit new talent were on hand for the career fair, where students could meet and network with employer representatives, and discover what kind of career opportunities those companies currently offer. The career fair was also open to members of the public, allowing anyone in the community the chance to help further their career.

The Networking Luncheon for campus students was held prior to the career fair, and was designed to take the entire event to a higher level of quality for those attending. Business representatives were seated with students whose major aligned with the education those businesses look for in potential employees, giving students an additional, and more intimate, chance to interact with people already working in their fields of interest.

"Networking is the most effective way of landing a job," said Anna Akintunde, Penn State DuBois career services coordinator. "It doesn’t matter whether you are a freshmen or a senior, it offers you the advantage of networking and building relationships that may lead to great opportunities, whether that be an internship or a new job upon graduation. Students who have attended in the past have described the Networking Luncheon as not only a great way to connect with opportunities, but an excellent way to meet employers and talk more personally with them in a low-pressure and relaxed atmosphere. The job fair offers yet another opportunity for networking, while also providing you the ability to gather field specific information in a time effective and less costly manner."

Students who attended both the Networking Lunch and the job fair echoed Akintunde's thoughts.

"This is a very enriching environment that gives us a great opportunity to network and learn more about our potential future employers," said student Julie Shimmel. "It's a great way to break the ice and get comfortable with the employers before going into the job fair."

"I'm happy I was able to network and form a rapport with several well connected local businesses," added fellow student Austin Sabatucci. "This is a good, welcoming environment." 

Those representing area employers at the career fair appreciated the added depth the event provides through the networking lunch, as well.

"It's really great to have the students involved with the networking lunch," said Mary McCullough, an employment specialist with Penn Highlands Healthcare of DuBois. "At most of these events it's just the employers networking before the job fair starts, but it's the students that we're looking to hire. So, it helps to see the students interact and get to know some of them first, and it helps the students loosen up for the job fair."

This event was sponsored by the DuBois Educational Foundation, the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society, GKN Sinter Metals, and Farmer's National Bank.

Akintunde said making contact at events like this is proven to produce results on both sides of the job market. The data she collected from this event last year shows that of those in attendance, 70 percent of employers said they left with potential hires, 68 percent of employers said they left with potential interns, 55 percent of students said they left with potential employment, and 67 percent of students said they left with an internship lead.