Networking, career fair event connects students with opportunities

Job seekers learn about career opportunities from local industry representatives.

Job seekers learned about career opportunities from local industry representatives at the Penn State DuBois Career Fair in the campus gymnasium.

Credit: Steve Harmic

Students at Penn State DuBois had the chance to connect with potential employers from around the region April 1 and explore opportunities for starting their career after graduation. The Networking Luncheon and Professional Job Fair, held in the campus gymnasium, allowed students to meet and mingle with representatives from a variety of local companies as well as find out what kind of employment opportunities those companies currently offer.

At the luncheon, business representatives were seated with students whose major aligned with the education those businesses look for in potential employees. Wildlife Technology students sat with a wildlife biologist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, business students sat with bankers and business owners, and so on. It gave the students the chance to interact with people already working in their fields of interest.

"The Networking Luncheon and Career Fair offers a wide variety of opportunities for all students at different levels in their career exploration and execution," said Anna Akintunde, career services coordinator at Penn State DuBois. "For instance, students who are unsure of their major or who question their future career path come to this event to speak to employers, to gather information on various fields and industries. Then, we have students who are sure of their career path and major who come to make contacts and connect with employers in their field of interest. They gain information on the latest and greatest in their future careers and get the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to communicate professionally and effectively with career professionals. Some even attend this event in an effort to get more immersed in their field by obtaining a future internship position."

Following the luncheon, employers and students moved to another part of the gym for the career fair, which was also open to members of the public seeking employment. Job seekers got more formal information on companies and organizations that set up recruitment stations with information.

"It's beneficial for all students on campus to take part at the career fair because of the connections you can make," said student Courtney Mullins. "I look forward to the career fair every year because I get to see both new and familiar faces. My favorite thing about the career fair is the fact that I'm taking what I learn in class and put it into action. The business program has really prepared me for this event, and I'm very thankful to be a part of it."

Area businesses and organizations benefit from the event by getting the opportunity to recruit new talent.

Scott North, the director of human resources for Jefferson Manor Health Center in Brookville, said, "Events like this help us in two ways: We are putting ourselves out here and finding people who can help us advance our mission to provide the best care for our residents. We're also letting people know that we are here and part of the community and economic life of the area."

Emily Swanson, a human resource representative from GKN Sinter Metals added, "It gives us the opportunity to touch base with students who aren’t even at the point of graduation yet, but we can start forming relationships early and show them that they can make a great living here locally in central Pennsylvania, and that they don't have to leave the area to find the job they're dreaming of."

According to Akintunde, making that contact is proven to work. She said, "Of course, many of our attendees are graduating in May and they are here to find future employment. Last year, 50 percent of students who attended this event felt they left with a potential job lead, while 75 percent left with a potential internship lead, and 77 percent of employers felt they left the event with a potential hire."

This event was sponsored by GKN Sinter Metals.