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Thursday, October 2, 2014 | Last updated: 3:27am

UA career fairs good for students, AZ economy



Every spring, we’re bombarded with career emails and flyers to get off our sofas, “suit up” and sharpen our professional skills, reminding us that we won’t be in college forever.

UA Career Services, which hosts multiple events every semester, boasts that over 90 percent of current undergraduates use some aspect of its many professional opportunities on their journey toward the post-grad world as of 2011, making the department an important player in the world of campus recruiting.

In this economic climate, you’d expect companies to be less likely to hire interns and new employees, but the opposite has been true at the UA this past year. Specifically, the most recent fairs have lead to an increase in students accepting employment in Arizona after graduation. In 2012, UA Career Services reported an 11 percent increase for Social & Behavioral Science students and a 10 percent increase for College of Science graduates accepting in-state job offers.

Vishak Shankar, an MIS and accounting junior assisting at the Eller Career Showcase, believes career fairs offer out-of-state students a particular advantage.

“Many out-of-state students have an outlet to jobs they would not have access to at home,” he said. With attendance by international companies like Target, that have corporate locations in the state, the fairs also offer students better opportunities to find positions in Arizona over summer vacation.

“If I were to not go to the fairs, I would be at a great disadvantage,” said Michael Bramer, an aerospace engineering sophomore looking for a summer internship. An out-of-state student from Alaska, Bramer attended all the major career fairs last fall, where he first interacted with local companies, like Raytheon and Honeywell, and learned about the hiring opportunities they offer within the state.

Actual job offers aside, the smorgasbord of networking and professional development opportunities these fairs offer might just be what makes those tuition dollars well spent.

Casey Orth, a business management senior, has his post-grad employment secured thanks to networking at a career fair last fall.

“It would have been hard to even have a chance without face-to-face interaction. I’m not sure if the career fair gave me an edge, per se, in getting me the job but it did help in getting me exposure to the recruiter,” Orth said.

Emma Hubbard, a public management & policy sophomore, said she believes career fairs are a crash course in reality for students.

“I think [career fairs are] more of an opportunity for students to get their acts together,” Hubbard said. “While I’m still a sophomore and I’m not looking for a full-time job, I knew it would be a great experience to make contacts and practice my presentation for when I am looking for those opportunities.”

With CNN Money ranking Arizona as the 2012 number one most entrepreneurial state, it’s no wonder that in-state job offer acceptance rates have spiked. By offering career fair after career fair, the UA is capitalizing on Arizona’s growth for the economic health of the state as a whole, ensuring that students, both international and out-of-state, are kept in the loop with expanding employment opportunities.

— Stephanie Zawada is a chemistry and pre-business sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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