By Casey Jones

Loribeth Reynolds/Collegian  - Coletta Betzen, Collwich, and Afton Ellington, Hutchinson, talk to a representative from Wesley Towers retirement center regarding career paths that the center offers.
Loribeth Reynolds/Collegian - Coletta Betzen, Collwich, and Afton Ellington, Hutchinson, talk to a representative from Wesley Towers retirement center regarding career paths that the center offers.

On Feb. 24, HCC hosted its first Career Connections Job Fair at the sports arena, with a large turnout from the student body and surrounding employers.

Of the employers, a total of 53 signed up to have a booth there, with only one dropping because of a previous commitment.

These employers ranged from a wide variety of fields, from industrial, manufacturing, and engineering to education, child care, and social services.

Many of the students had to come because of certain classes, but still seemed to believe it was a great opportunity.

“I’m in a career decision class and had to come,” Mollie Panek, Cunningham, said.

“Very informative,” Panek said. “It’s a great opportunity for young people to learn about their options for a career.”

On the other side of the spectrum, employers and representatives of employing companies believed that the career fair had been both helpful and successful.

“I feel it’s good if they are in the field we are looking for,“ said Kira Burt, a representative for Dillons and Kroger.

“There’s probably been about five or six in the field we’re looking for.“

On a further note, Burt explained that the event would help with recruiting local employees.

“It’s getting our name out there, that we’re here in the community as well,” Burt said.

The representative from Tyson Foods, Tiana Reeves, had similar thoughts about the whole event.

“Hopefully we can find some qualified maintenance mechanics; that’s what we’re looking for,” Reeves said. “We’ve had a few stop by, but we’re still in great need.”

Reeves said Tyson had four to five open positionsin maintenance; and that they will definitely return if HCC hosts an event like this again.

Reeves said the event had benefits for more than just the company.

“I think it’s had a pretty good turnout. I hope the whole community benefits from it.

“I think it’s great exposure for our company.”

The organizers of the fair saw the event as a major success and they definitely plan on doing this again next year.

“Considering it is our first event, I think we’ve had a really good turnout,“ said Michelle Wortham, the administrative assistant to Brett Bright, who is the vice president of student services.

“We’ve had 53 employers sign up, she said. “We’ve had hundreds of students come in, so for our first step in this I think we’ve been very successful.”

Wortham also confirmed that this fair is definitely not the last of these events.

“There will be another Career Connections Job Fair next year,” she said.

But there is more.

“The first part of next year, we also will have the Opportunities Fair again, which is part-time jobs for students who just arrived at school.”

On a further note, Wortham also stated that CareerZone will be a lot easier to access in the coming years.

“I think we have a lot of opportunities for students to get enrolled in CareerZone. Next year it will be part of the orientation, so things will go a lot smoother for students next year.”

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