Thursday, March 9, 2017

Employers, Students Look Long Term at Career Fair

Demand for workers high at CVTC spring event

Article Photo - Employers, Students Look Long Term at Career Fair

CVTC Business management students Trevor Hurt of Mondovi, right, and Scott Carey of Eau Claire speak with US Bank representatives Sara Hefty and Jeff Webb at the CVTC Spring Career Fair March 8.

Alex Halpin made his way around the Spring Career Fair at Chippewa Valley Technical College Wednesday, March 8, getting a feel for some of the opportunities available. But his was not a desperate job search.

Halpin, a 2013 Cornell High School graduate originally from Chippewa Falls, is in the Information Technology-Network Specialist program, and the demand is high in that field.

“I’ll be graduating in May and I’m looking for a full-time information technology position,” he told Erin Trowbridge and Michael Brahmer at the Bernicke Wealth Management table. “I like working with other cultures and likely will stick with IT networking for a career.”

Brahmer indicated that information systems people were among the ones they were looking for, along with sales and advising.

Students attending the Career Fair, held at the CVTC Business, Health, Manufacturing, and Energy education centers found for the most part a job-seeker’s market once again, as an improving economy has resulted in talent shortages in some areas. The Career Fair drew about 140 employers, similar to the previous two spring events, but up significantly from the 86 employers attending in 2014.

“I’m finding a lot of demand out there,” Halpin said. “I see 80 positions every week online for IT positions. I don’t see that slowing down soon.”

Indeed, at the Seek Careers/Staffing table, Tara Nadolny and Aaron Libner were looking for a broad range of people to fill a broad range of needs of their business clients.

“Right now, manufacturing is a very hot commodity – machinists, welders, and fabrication types of positions,” Libner said.

“And there’s always administrative assistant positions available in the area,” Nadolny added.

Much of the recruitment by employers and searching by students focused on long-term career issues rather than the filling of immediate openings.

“I’m looking for career opportunities and internships,” said Trevor Hurt, a Business Management student from Mondovi. “I’m graduating soon and internships are required in my program. A lot of the employers say they are hiring for May right now, but a lot of them say they are looking for interns too.”

Courtney Hawkins of Chippewa Falls, an Accounting student, hopes to graduate in the summer after completing an internship she was looking for at the Career Fair. “I’m seeing what’s out there in the Eau Claire area and I’m open to whatever right now. I’m hoping for something Monday through Friday during the day.”

Jeff Webb, customer service manager at US Bank, said they were primarily looking to staff a call center right now, but were thinking long-term in their search for talent.

“We’re looking for people who are willing to start at the beginning in the company and work their way up, and we have lots of opportunities,” Webb said. “And people who have been with us six months are eligible for a tuition reimbursement program.”

Lisa Hedrington, a human resources manager working at American Income Life table, was also interested in meeting students who were looking for a long-term career. She recalled Vincent Meyer, a CVTC student who visited the table just before his May 2014 graduation in the Business Management program. He started in sales, worked his way into management and is now in charge of the company’s Oklahoma market.