Students speak with recruiters Wednesday at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff/Southeast Arkansas College Career and Teacher Education Fair at UAPB. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)
By Michael S. Lee | Pine Bluff Commercial
Students and alumni of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas College had the opportunity Wednesday to inquire about internship and employment opportunities with more than 60 employers as part of the 2013 Fall UAPB/SEARK Career Day and Teacher Education Fair.
Held in the H. O. Clemmons Arena of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex on the UAPB campus, the career fair attracted employers including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Tyson Foods, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Benton School District.
A number of colleges and universities with graduate school programs were also represented.
“The students and alumni are able to meet and have conversations with employers at this event,” said Earnestine McLaughlin, Career Day coordinator and education counselor with the UAPB Department of Career Services. “It also helps students to understand how to use their majors to prepare them for the careers that they plan to pursue.”
McLaughlin said that several federal employers, including the U. S. Department of Agriculture, had to cancel because of the ongoing federal government shutdown.
“But we also had a few employers who signed up at the last minute,” McLaughlin said. “Altogether we have about 65 employers and graduate school representatives here today.”
Demetrius Anderson is a UAPB freshman computer science major who plans to go into computer programming and software development.
“This is very beneficial to the students because it shows us what is available to us in terms of careers and internships,” Anderson said. “I’ve been able to get some useful information. I spoke with representatives of Data Tronics Corp. to see what they are looking for.”
Crystal Jones will graduate from UAPB in December with a degree in criminal justice.
“I have been handing out a lot of resumes today,” Jones said. “I’m looking at law schools and finding out what job opportunities are available.”
Patrick Wilson and Dominique Sanders are annual visitors to the career day.
“Every time we come we get a new perspective on what our options are,” said Sanders, a UAPB junior biology major. “I am planning to become an optometrist.”
Wilson is a UAPB junior majoring in environmental biology and fisheries biology.
“I plan to become a conservation criminologist,” Wilson said. “It is a field that deals with environmental crime. Not many people go into this field, so attending this event every semester helps me to stay up to date on the field that I want to go into and find out what potential employers are looking for.”
Amy Langston is staffing manager of the clerical division for Premier Staffing in Little Rock.
“Probably 90 percent of our open job positions are temp to hire,” Langston said. “Some students tell us that they aren’t interested in a temporary job, but we tell them that Arkansas is an at-will state, which means that if an employer doesn’t like how a new hire is performing, they can let them go without having to provide a reason. So every job is really a temp job.”
Langston said that she tells job seekers that many people end up with full-time jobs after beginning as temporary employees.
“Being at career days like this allows us to speak with people who had the initiative to come here and lets us see how well they handle an interview on the spot,” Langston said.
“We spoke to a professor who asked us to tell them what in particular the employers who are our clients are looking for in terms of employee skill sets,” Langston said. “There are some pretty specialized requirements. So we told them and now they are going to tell their students what they need to learn before applying for a job in one of these fields.”
Mary Morgan, assistant superintendent for personnel and student services with the Benton School District, was working to recruit new teachers.
“I am interested in talking to the education majors,” Morgan said. “I tell them that we are looking for teachers and to visit our district website starting in March to see what the job openings are.”
The Jefferson Regional Medical Center School of Nursing was represented by nurse recruiter Debbie Robinson.
“For those graduating in December, I tell them that our classes start in January for the registered nurse program at JRMC,” Robinson said. “Each year we admit 60 students to the two-year program.”
Audrey Veasey is a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind.
“We are here today to let people know about the vocational services we provide for those with vision impairments,” Veasey said. “We help youth starting at age 14 to make sure there is no gap between services provided to students through the education system and those provided by vocational rehabilitation.”
Veasey said that her agency provides guidance and counseling to youth to help them transition from high school to employment or post-secondary education.
“We empower them to be able to be independent,” Veasey said. “I am also able to use this event to get job information for the people we have who are looking for jobs.”
Veasey said that three of her visually impaired clients are students at UAPB.
“One of them is about to graduate and the other two are just starting out,” Veasey said.