MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University students and community members had the opportunity to meet more than 50 potential employers and see several graduate programs at universities in the Midwest during NMU's Fall Job Fair earlier this week.
Steven LaFond, assistant director of NMU Career Services, which hosts the event, said the fall job fair was a good chance for students to meet a lot of prospective employers in a short amount of time.
LaFond said as the economy continues to remain somewhat sluggish, meeting the most people possible at events like job fairs can really help in procuring employment.
Oshkosh Police Department Capt. Cyndi Thaldorf talks with Northern Michigan University criminal justice majors Brian Burkel and Thomas Vet at this week’s fall job fair at NMU. (Journal photo by jackie Stark)
"This is a chance to cast a wide net. They have to make more contacts," LaFond said. "This (job fair) is on campus. It's an easy way to make those contacts."
Oshkosh Police Department Capt. Cyndi Thaldorf said her department has been coming to Northern twice a year for the university's job fairs for nearly 10 years.
She said the department hired at least three Northern graduates in recent years and keeps coming back because of the good quality of NMU's criminal justice program.
"Partly, we keep coming up because it's a quality program and there are quality people," Thaldorf said. "Also, it gives us lots of exposure and it makes that first step in the application process a little easier."
Thaldorf said the Oshkosh police had worked out an agreement with Northern in which students can take the police department's written test - which is the first step in the application process - at NMU the day of the job fair.
"They don't have to drive down to take the written test, which is good for college students," Thaldorf said.
Brian Burkel, a senior criminal justice major, said he was hoping to eventually work in federal law enforcement.
Wednesday's job fair was the second he's attended at NMU. He stopped at several law enforcement booths throughout the afternoon, hitting up Oshkosh, the Madison Police Department and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, among others.
"I feel confident," Burkel said of potential employment opportunities in his career path. "The outlook for employment is looking good."
Junior criminal justice major Thomas Vet also stopped by the Oshkosh booth. He said he's optimistic about his job prospects after college.
He decided to stop by the job fair to see what opportunities were out there for him.
"It's a good way to get your foot in the door," Vet said of meeting prospective employers.
There was a wide range of businesses and government offices represented at the job. Many local employers had a booth, including the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Marquette General Hospital, Best Buy, Menards, several accounting and consulting firms and many different government organizations that have offices locally.
Also represented were several branches of the U.S. military.
Attendees of the job fair were given a packet as they walked in with the name of all the businesses or government offices represented at the fair as well as what type of employment they could offer, whether it was full-time or internships.
Participants were also asked to fill out a short survey asking them how their experience at the job fair was overall.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.