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Discovering Potential: Internship Fair Opens Doors for Students

Becky St. Clair, May 15, 2018
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Sydney Johnston, career counselor in the Career & Counseling Center, put a lot of time and thought into organizing this year’s internship fair.

“An event like this open doors for students to find internships or jobs, either after graduation or during their time here at PUC,” Johnston says. “It also provides PUC connections with our community so we can partner more with local and Bay Area businesses as we show them what our students have to offer their companies and organizations.”

So, on Wednesday, May 9, the Career & Counseling Center hosted an internship fair in the Dining Commons. Over 40 students stopped by the tables and talked to most, if not all, the recruiters present. Participating organizations included Auberge Resorts, Army Healthcare Team, Lake Berryessa Park Ranger Program, U.S. Navy Chaplain & Medical Programs, Oakville Grocery, Meadowood Luxury Hotel, and OfficeTeam, an international employment agency.

“I want to see if I can find anything to further my chances of getting started in my career,” says Etienne Herholdt, freshman emergency services major, who stopped by the fair on his way to lunch. “I plan to become a paramedic firefighter, and it’s nice to have the chance to see a few options without ever having to leave campus.”

Jobs during college can and should be more than just earning money; they can also help boost a student into their desired career path and give them the experience they need to determine whether or not that career is for them.

“I wanted to look into the military reserves and see if I could find a weekend job, too,” says Amanda Takemoto, sophomore nursing major. “I eventually want to get my DNP, and some employers help finance your education while you work for them.”

One such employer represented at the internship fair was the Army. As a part time Army reserve and full time scholar, students are trained for their career of choice while earning student loan repayment.

“The Army reserve helps pay for college, while giving you hands-on experience,” says Staff Sergeant James R. Smith Jr., representing the Army at the fair. “It offers students a chance to have more than fast food on their resume when they graduate.”

Events like this also put PUC on the map when it comes to employers looking for seasonal employees, interns, and even long-term or full-time job candidates.

“Before we were invited here, we weren’t considering this campus as a potential employee pool, and students weren’t considering us for potential employment,” says Jennifer Onufer, park ranger who attended the fair representing the Lake Berryessa Park Ranger program. “The truth is that our needs fit perfectly with a student schedule, so this is really great!”

LBPR is always in need of summer park rangers, which includes a mix of skills and abilities, such as law enforcement (uncommissioned), interpersonal, custodial, and an interest in assisting the natural resource director in the fight against invasive species.

Through the LBPR, students can also learn more about USA Jobs and sign up for alerts when jobs that fit their skills and interests are available.

“We can help students navigate the system, which can sometimes be challenging,” says April Brackett, park ranger. “All resumes and applications are vetted by a computer before ever getting to a real person, so we can help students get their best chance at passing the computer test and having their resume end up on the desk of a live person.”

Similar to USA Jobs, employment agencies can match individuals to jobs that fit their needs, personalities, and skills. This is why Johnston asked OfficeTeam, a Robert Half Company, to attend the fair, as well.

“Students make really strong candidates for short-term jobs and internships,” says Matt Woods, staffing manager for OfficeTeam. “It’s important for them to try something and see if they like it. We can offer them a chance to get into the environment they think they like so they can decide for sure.”

OfficeTeam staff help students perfect their resumes, improve interview and on-the-job skills, and find positions that work with their schedules and abilities.

“Past experience isn’t even an issue,” says Woods. “We get to know you, and if we think you have what it takes, we’ll get you connected.”

Skills assessments help the agency determine whether an individual can do a particular job, and the results are helpful to OfficeTeam staff as they go to bat for the applicant to find them what they need--be it work during the school year or summer, or a permanent job after graduation.

“Students today are tech-savvy and they can do the work,” says Luisa McInnis, staffing manager at OfficeTeam. “They’re reliable because they’re used to tight schedules and strict deadlines. Employers love that.”

Even if students are going home for the summer, or are looking for employment outside of the local area, companies like OfficeTeam can help. With a global database of employers and open positions, OfficeTeam provides resources wherever the individual may be looking.

“I think we had a successful event,” says Johnston. “We had a good turnout of students, and the recruiters expressed that they were very impressed with our students. A number of them were offered interviews, and several were actually hired right on the spot.”

Anyone who was unable to attend Wednesday’s internship fair can still get what they need through the Career & Counseling Center. Visit puc.edu/counseling-center for a regularly updated list of jobs and internships, as well as other resources. Email career@puc.edu to talk with a counselor about the specific needs and interests you have, or to get help with resume building, interview skills, and more.

“A lot of students don’t know what’s out there,” Takemoto says. “It’s good to make information like this available to show us options and opportunities we may not have considered.”