Despite an improving economy and the increasing employment rate, USF students didn’t have to go far for a prospective part-time job.
USF’s Career Center held its biannual part-time job fair Thursday. Drema Howard, director of the center, said the fair, now in its 20th year, is beneficial for students, connecting them with employers interested in hiring.
“Certainly, the economy has changed,” she said. “We used to have more employers, but we continue to see that change, with the number of employers (attending the job fair) increasing.”
A diverse group of 40 employers and companies were present. The companies represented various sectors including health care, finance, banking, engineering, entertainment, military and education and included names such as Wachovia Bank, Busch Gardens and Emergency Medicine Scribe System.
About 60 percent of students who have applied at past fairs receive part-time jobs, Howard said.
Amy Mayuiers, a junior majoring in chemistry, said she is not picky in finding a part-time job.
“It is a lot more crowded this year, and there are more job opportunities,” she said. “I need a job because of financial reasons. At this time, I am open for (any) kind of job because with the economy, you are lucky to get one.”
The nation’s current unemployment rate stands at 9.6 percent. Florida, at 11.5 percent, has the sixth highest unemployment rate among states in the nation. About 37 percent of 18 – to 29-year-olds have been underemployed or out of work during the recession, according to a Pew Research Center study released in February.
Robert Welsh, who graduated from USF this year, said he received his job as a project manager and engineering specialist with Bracken Engineering three years ago during a career fair.
“We have actually hired quite a few people through the job fair,” he said. “We like USF students, as our owner and founder of the company is a USF graduate, and he likes to have USF students come and work for him.”
Howard said the fair was successful and there was positive feedback from employers.
“Our employers were extremely impressed by the number of students who turned up (as well as) the quality of the students and their resumes,” she said.
Many of the companies return every year to participate in the fair, Howard said.
Returning companies this year included Kaplan, Wachovia and Bracken Engineering. First time companies included Emergency Medicine Scribe System, Jerk Hut, USF Human Resources and Myers Tutoring.
“We have been employing USF students for 10 years, but this is our first time here at this fair,” said Quang Le, manager at the Jerk Hut on Fowler Avenue.
Terrence Alleyne, a sophomore majoring in pre-athletic training, said he found the fair convenient.
“The thing I like about this fair is that they are coming to us instead of us going to them,” he said. “The best thing about this fair is that there are different companies and diverse companies. It is a good thing they are doing here at USF, and it should continue.”
The job fair was also the start of the “We Believe!” campaign, which was started this semester by the Career Center in collaboration with Geico.
Howard said the campaign aims to help students be aware and engaged in their career development process.
Throughout the fall and spring semesters, students will have an opportunity to win an iPad by answering trivia questions posted every few weeks on the Career Center’s website. The trivia questions are related to the center and USF as a whole.
“It is a fun way (for our students) to know about career-related events and about the University,” Howard said. “We believe that our students can be successful. We believe that they are top candidates for employers and in their work force. The economy does make a difference … but we are here to serve the students (by) doing everything we can to connect students with employers.”