Patricia Reuss, Career Services, 657-2168
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
February 11, 2010
Students, businesses take positive approach in career/internship discussions
Some businesses come to Career Fitness Fair with job openings
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — If there is any collective angst over jobs and internships among college students in Billings, they sure hid it well on Thursday.
The Student Union Ballroom at Montana State University Billings was abuzz with eager conversations between area students and a host of employers at the 13th annual Career Fitness Fair. The event is held to allow area businesses and non-profit entities to make connections with hundreds of college students. The three-hour event is co-hosted by MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College.
Midway through the session, nearly 400 students had already wandered through the ballroom, chatting with the 46 exhibitors who were passing along job information, internship potential and career connections on everything from the retail and financial sector to state government and human services.
Even though the recession has had lingering effects in Billings and Montana, employers and organizers alike said the event provided opportunities for students. One international telecommunications company was looking to fill 10 positions while the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch had a list of 20 position announcements.
Celena Spencer was representing Global Crossing, an international company that provides computer network services worldwide. She said the company has a presence in all 50 states and is looking to fill 10 network technician and inbound customer service spots.
“Today has been great. The connections with students have been very positive,” Spencer said, noting that about 50 people had indicated interest in her company.
She said that since Global Crossing is international, students who are willing to relocate have the potential to have good jobs right out of college.
Mark Jaskot and Rachelle Elliott, human resources coordinators for the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, said they were impressed with positive attitude held by many students.
“We’ve had a lot of good resumes and the students have been very cheerful and friendly with their approach,” Elliott said. “It’s been a good group this year.”
Jaskot said the company is looking for “outgoing people who have a passion for helping kids” and have a human services degree. Many of the positions open are for counselors and youth services specialists.
While some of the talk centered on job openings, internships seemed to be biggest opportunity.
“Most of them (the exhibitors) want interns,” said Patricia Reuss, director of Career Services at MSU Billings. “That’s exactly what we want. Sometimes the only opportunity in a down economy to get your foot in the door is to start as an intern.”
She emphasized that the event is not a jobs fair, but a place to make important connections.
Many students took advantage of that opportunity, sensing that economic turnaround could come soon.
Sisters Caitlyn and Jordan Kynast, MSU Billings students from Absarokee, made the rounds at different exhibitors seeking to make the right connections for internships. Caitlyn, a junior marketing major, had arranged a phone interview with Target and was hopeful for the summer.
Their friend, Amie Dominguez, a senior marketing and management student, was looking for work.
“A job is why I’m here,” Dominquez said. “There are some possibilities and I don’t mind relocating.”
Other students, like Vinnie Castro, were on hand to explore possibilities. Castro, who will graduate in May with a degree in business marketing, said he had already made plans to take over a family landscaping business, but was curious about other opportunities.
For event details or more information go to www.msubillings.edu/careers/empcareerfairs.htm or contact the MSU Billings Office of Career Services at 657-2168.
PHOTO ABOVE: Target employees talk with students Thursday at the 13th annual Career Fitness Fair at MSU Billings.