Springfield College Career Center Assistant Director Laurie Wrona is accustomed to encouraging students to attend the ninth annual College 2 Career Expo, but this year she had some extra motivation for students. In addition to the practical benefits of attending a job fair, the first 25 SC students that signed up for the expo received free suits from the non-profit, Save-A-Suit.
“It seemed like a pretty good deal to me. Free suits for students, can’t turn that down. It was a nice partnership,” Wrona said. “I think people walked out pretty happy.”
Junior Will Cogswell, a Business Management major, first heard of the job fair when he saw the Career Center’s advertisement about the free suit offer.
“That was kind of the motivator, and then I was happy that I got to experience the career fair as well,” Cogswell said.
Cogswell was one of 16 SC students that joined others from 10 different schools located around the Hartford and Springfield areas at the expo, which is hosted by the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership.
Wrona has served three years on the board of the partnership, which organizes the expo every year. The board organizes the job fair with a specific purpose in mind.
“The goal of the group is to retain talented college graduates to the region. So its employers from all over Hartford and Springfield, and it’s all the colleges from Hartford and Springfield, and we work together to maximize their recruiting efforts,” Wrona said.
The expo changes locations each year in order to vary in distance between Hartford and Springfield. This year it was held on Jan. 30 at Rentschler Field (home of the UConn Huskies) in East Hartford, Conn. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For the SC students who attended, it provided either a learning experience or a beneficial opportunity to land a full-time job with one of the over 60 companies in attendance.
“It’s a good chance to get in front of employers,” Wrona said. “Getting face-to-face with an employer, preparing for that and really being able to sell yourself is invaluable. That’s going to make an impression that no amount of cover letters and resumes sent digitally is ever going to make.”
According to Wrona, job fairs are beneficial for sophomores and juniors because they serve as a chance to gather information and secure internships, part-time jobs, or summer gigs. For seniors, however, job fairs are a prime chance to begin the process of securing a job.
The expo’s partnership with Save-A-Suit provided an extra enticement for students to attend the event this year. The organization provided suits, ties, shoes and other clothing for students to take with them. Cogswell took advantage of the opportunity to add a full suit and a few ties to his wardrobe.
“When I got there they had a bunch of people on staff, they measured me, told me what size I was, [and] made sure I was in the right section,” he said. “[It] was awesome.”
The Career Center continues to promote the College 2 Career Expo because the center’s job, as Wrona sees it, is to provide students with the most opportunities to present themselves to future employers, and job fairs are an excellent means of achieving that goal.
“With the economy, employers are looking to maximize their recruiting dollar. They’re not going to go to every single college anymore,” Wrona said. “If we can make it easy for them to get access to our students, and everybody else’s students at the same time, they’re going to go to that job fair.”
The next job fair that the Career Center is promoting will be held at Western New England on March 28. For more information, contact Laurie Wrona at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Career Center in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union.