55 Businesses, 400 Job-seekers Participated
Tables were draped with colorful business logos. Promotional items – pens, bags, candy and more – were displayed invitingly on the tables along with stacks of brochures and other information about each company's perks and opportunities. Fifty-five employers were set up and ready March 28 to fill their vacancies at the 2017 Tri-County Job and Career Fair at the College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus.
“This event is something the college community looks forward to each year. Being able to host the meeting of eager job seekers and employers with opportunities is very rewarding.” said Lisa Warren, senior associate director of Career Services at CSM.
Armed with her resume, CSM alumna Cristina Vandroff of Newburg was one of the prospective employees to visit the fair where she was searching for a human relations position. “It seems like they really have a variety of employers in one place, and you can actually meet face-to-face as opposed to meeting online,” Vandroff said. At the fair, she gave her resume to two potential employers and has a skills assessment test scheduled with one of those two prospects.
Sarah Lewis of Mechanicsville is a CSM student who is on schedule to graduate with an associate degree in communication in May. Lewis said she was using the job fair as a fact-finding tool. “I want to see what companies are out there,” she said.
The job fair format that provides face-to-face opportunities to connect also benefits employers, many noted. “It really helps,” said Gopal Bagadia, associate director of Transamerica Agency Network, a financial services business. “We can talk to [applicants] more and show them what we have to offer.”
Employers who participated in the fair ranged from U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Exelon, WaWa, Capital Tristate and Chaney Enterprises and dozens of other companies. In addition to staffing a table at the event, a representative from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory presented a “Navigating the Federal Hiring Process” workshop at the job fair, a critical skill in a region where so many federal jobs are available.
In a new aspect of the event this year, Warren worked with the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) to invite students in the 11th grade Career Research and Development (CRD) program to the job fair. As a result, students from every public high school attended the fair. Students in the CCPS program are required to find jobs for their senior year, during which they are graded on their performance as part of the school program.
This influx of younger job seekers was a boon to many employers participating in the fair. Leta Holland, senior manager for employment for DavCo Restaurants, a Wendy's franchise, staffed one of the tables at the fair, where she and an associate said they were looking to fill positions from crew up through management for their 145 stores. Holland indicated that they had found multiple good prospects during the four-hour job fair.
Three Chick-fil-A restaurants also set up tables at the CSM fair. “We're getting to meet plenty of young people,” said Jacob Williams, hiring director for the Brandywine location. “It's been good for us.”
The annual job fair is not the only way CSM Career Services assists the community. CSM career counselors present workshops at local libraries, speak at area schools and participate in other job search-related events. “We are an integral part of organizations in the community that are concerned with its citizens starting their careers, getting employed or re-employed,” Warren said.
For information about CSM's career services, visit http://www.csmd.edu/student-services/advising/career-services/ or call 301-934-7569.