URI attracts 50 eager employers to campus job fair and 80 business alums to career day

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Unemployment? Bucking a nationwide trend,

KINGSTON, R.I., Oct. 17, 2011- Doom and gloom headlines about the record unemployment awaiting college graduates may be everywhere, but the University of Rhode Island is bucking that trend with two events that will bring more than 50 employers who are hiring and 80 connected alumni to the Kingston campus this week.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, hundreds of recruiters from 50 companies including FM Global, Pratt & Whitney, Schneider Electric, and Texas Instruments, will fill the Ryan Center for the Engineering and Technology Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will meet students with the intention of hiring them for entry-level positions and internships. The fair, which has been held for the past 10 years, has more employers coming this year than in the previous two years, according to URI Career Services Director Bobbi Koppel.

“More participation by employers leads to more participation by the students and alumni, and we are pleased with the opportunities this will lead to,” Koppel said. “The students hear all the scary unemployment news and start to believe there are no jobs out there. But at the fair they will see that there are jobs. These companies are hiring.”

The URI College of Business Administration’s Career Day will be held Friday, October 21, on the Kingston campus at Ballentine Hall and feature 80 high profile alums including Hasbro Board Chairman Al Verrecchia, who will deliver the keynote address. For business students, their normal class schedule has been suspended so they can attend career day, which features break out sessions with the prominent alums and time for resume critiques, mock interviews, and speed networking.

“Last year we had over 500 students attend and more than 20 students land internships and job interviews through career day,” said URI College of Business Administration Assistant Dean Peg Boyd. “We know that the alumni who attend are representing their companies and those companies want to hire the best and the brightest students. We want our students out in front of those individuals.”

Business alumni participating represent a who’s who of companies including: Google, UBS Investment Bank, Amica, CVS, Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Cox Communications, and many more. The event will feature a panel of 2010 and 2009 College of Business Administration graduates discussing how they capitalized on opportunities at career day. Boyd said you can clearly see the return on investment in higher education when so many alumni want to visit URI to recruit the next generation of business leaders.

Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine recently ranked URI #1 in New England and 13th in the nation for return on investment among public and private institutions. The magazine examined the relationship between tuition costs and graduates’ earning power. When it comes to making choices about higher education and future careers, people are looking for value and quality, according to URI Career Services Assistant Director Carolyn Thomas.

“If this economy is going to turn around, this is the population that will start it with entry-level positions,” Thomas said of the college students. She noted that an interview day for URI pharmacy students who will graduate in the spring is scheduled for later this month. It will lead to a majority of pharmacy graduates leaving URI and knowing where they will be working.

Wednesday’s job fair for engineering and technical students and alumni and Friday’s career day for business students will also help prepare undergraduate students for future internships and job interviews by interacting with professionals in their field. For students who will be graduating soon, it can be a hopeful experience amid the headlines about record unemployment.

At the fair for engineering and technical students, Koppel said many of the recruiters who participate are URI alums.

“We’ve had recruiters say to us, ‘I got my job a few years ago by attending this event!’” Koppel said.

For more information on URI Career Services, visit http://career.uri.edu or URI CBA Career Day http://cba.uri.edu.