Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Revived career fair draws dozens of employers

Columbia VA to add call center jobs

By CHRIS TRAINOR/Index-Journal staff writer
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:56 PM EST
One of the main goals for any college or university is to get students prepared for their future career.

On Tuesday, Lander University took things one step further, hosting a career fair in the school’s Cultural Center. Nearly three dozen corporations had representatives on campus, giving students the opportunity to submit resumes and mingle with potential future employers.

Jennifer Pierce-Turman, of Lander’s career services, spoke about the event, which was Lander’s first career fair in several years.

“We haven’t had a career fair in a few years, so this is kind of new,” Pierce-Turman said. “We have about 33 or 34 employers here. They are talking with the students, telling them about internships or other openings they may have.”

A broad spectrum of companies was present, including representatives from CountyBank, Milliken, Walgreen’s, Park Seed and Waffle House.

Pierce-Turman said the goal was to have as diverse a group as possible.

“Most of the time, when we have employers come to campus to greet our students, we have students say, �Well, you didn’t have anybody (related to) our major,’” Pierce-Turman said.

“We have businesses from mass communications covered to marketing management to accounting, healthcare. We try to cover a wide array of companies.”

Some employers were approaching students with completely new opportunities. Such was the case with Doug Chapman, who was representing the U.S. Office of Veteran’s Affairs. The group will soon open a large call center in Columbia.

“We’re in the process of increasing the positions we have in Columbia,” Chapman said. “So we’re looking for legal administrative specialists. We’re going to be building a call center (in Columbia) to answer questions on veterans’ claims from up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

“We’re also recruiting veterans services representatives.”

Mike Barnes, a regional coordinator for Waffle House, described what his company was looking for from college students.

“We are recruiting management,” Barnes said. “We have been in business 52 years, and we are looking for quality folks to run units for us.”

Matt Walker, a senior exercise science major at Lander, was one of many students strolling through the Cultural Center, dropping off resumes and networking with business representatives.

Walker said he appreciated the opportunity to make new contacts.

“This is a good foundation for somebody for after school, or even while you’re in school,” said Walker, who hails from North Augusta. “It’s helpful. I’ve even spoken with some employers who have said they are looking for employees with degrees in any major. It’s good to know there are businesses seeking employees.”

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