Employers: Opportunities exist for job-seekers

Virtual Fall Career Conference provides more one-on-one employer, student meeting times
Employers attemding the virtual Fall Career Conference say there are still career opportunities despite COVID-19.
Pam Powers | September 28, 2020

Karen Glinski, a recruiter and part of the Skyward organizational development team, says there are job opportunities out there for graduates despite COVID-19.

Skyward, a Stevens Point-based K-12 school administration software company, is one of more than 140 companies taking part in the University of Wisconsin-Stout Fall Career Conference. The conference is virtual this year from Tuesday, Sept. 29, through Thursday, Oct. 1.

Virtual career fairs are online and allow employers and candidates to meet through calls or video chat rooms. UW-Stout students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited to attend. Register through the Career Fair Plus application available for Android and Apple phones.

“We have career opportunities in 15 departments that include programming, customer consulting, project management, quality assurance, state and federal reporting and sales and marketing,” Glinski said, noting her company is the two-time recipient of the Bubbler Award, recognizing Skyward as one of the top 10 places in Wisconsin for young professionals to work.

“Despite COVID there certainly are opportunities for graduates. We hired 25 programmers this year and plan to hire at least that many next year. We are also currently hiring over 20 people in our customer consulting department.”

Karen Glinkski
Karen Glinski

Skyward, which was founded 40 years ago, has about 650 employees.

“Programmers are our main recruit at UW-Stout, though we have hired Stout students in other departments as well,” Glinski said. “The programming department likes to recruit and hire at Stout because in the words of our programming learning and development manager: ‘Stout has a good computer science major and their students are prepared to think through designs that can be reusable and long-lasting. This helps cut down on our technical debt and bugs within our major web application.’ We are looking for computer science, applied mathematics and computer science, computer networking and information technology and computer engineering majors.”

Three-day conference

Katie Hauge, UW-Stout’s employer relations manager with Career Services, said the decision was made to increase the Career Conference to three days, allowing for a more localized major experience for students and employers. Being virtual will allow students the opportunity to set one-on-one interviews with employers for cooperative and internship opportunities as well as professional employment.

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Katie Hauge

Students will be able to sign up to talk to employers on their schedules and be assured to meet with them, Hauge noted. “I really like the one-on-one,” Hauge said. “It is two people talking and connecting.”

The schedule is:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to noon will be devoted to engineering and technology industries; and from 1 to 4 p.m. to packaging, printing and design industries.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30, the morning is set aside for hospitality, tourism, property management and golf industries; and the afternoon for the construction industry.
  • Thursday, Oct. 1, the morning is for business, management and marketing industries;  and the afternoon for science, health, research, education and human services.

Hauge said advantages for employers with a virtual conference is lower recruiting costs by saving on travel and the ability to receive electronic resumes and screen quality candidates.

There are employment opportunities, Hauge said. “We get new job postings every single day,” Hauge said. “Employers still need interns and co-op students.”

Those experiential learning opportunities help prepare students for their careers, Hauge noted.

Applied learning

Jake Monty, process improvement specialist with Mittera Group, a multiplatform communication company headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, said his company has recruited for graphic communications majors through the UW-Stout Career Conference for about a half-dozen years and will attend the Virtual Fall Career Conference.

“We love hiring through UW-Stout,” said Monty, who is a 2017 UW-Stout cross-media graphics graduate. “Stout has a platform that teaches students what they can expect in the industry. Stout students are sought after by every company within the major. Print is an old industry. Stout made a way for it to have a forward vision for marketing companies and be a leader.”

 

Jake Monty
Jake Monty

Monty said there are opportunities for jobs in his organization and other industries. “A lot of businesses are still thriving,” he said. “The ones that are thriving positioned themselves to persevere in a tough economy. They have diversified their products and services to be attractive regardless of the economy’s state.”

Students urged to attend

Sarah Webber, of Rice Lake,  a junior packaging major, is completing a co-op experience in research and development at Smiths Medical in Plymouth, Minn. She was offered the co-op last September during the Career Conference.

She encouraged other students to take advantage of the Career Conference as early as their first year to start making connections with companies for co-op opportunities and employment. “I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought I would working in my industry,” she said.

Webber has attended all the Career Conferences since she was a first-year student.

An advantage she sees at the virtual conference is being able to set up a profile and reserve a meeting before it starts. “Having your resume or profile before is helpful to the student and the employer,” she noted. “You also can have it linked to your LinkedIn profile. I also found it easy to find information about the companies.”

Career Services kudos

Luke Howk, talent acquisition for ACIST Medical Systems in Eden Prairie, Minn., complimented Career Services for coordinating a high-value experience for students and employers by providing training and checking in with employers as they prepare for the conference.

 

Luke Howk
Luke Howk

Kellie Horzewski, Careers Services event and technology coordinator, worked to reinvent the virtual experience while maintaining the event’s traditions and standards  to ensure a high impact for students and employers.

“They are true professionals and truly make us feel like we are a valued partner,” Howk  said. “While it seems nothing is easy today, I’m so relieved to work with this team because they continue to make it easy to work with Stout even in the midst of a global pandemic.” 

The Spring Career Conference is scheduled March 2-4.


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