By Archama P. Ort
Like clockwork, students from around the region flock to the Monroeville Convention Center once every fall and spring to meet and greet with prospective employers.
The Western PA Job & Internship Fair, hosted by WestPACS (Western Pennsylvania Career Services), was established in 1988 and is an independent, non-profit association of career service professionals representing 45 member colleges, and universities of Western Pennsylvania.
The WestPACS internship and job fair runs like a well-oiled machine because it not only helps the students by giving them the opportunity to meet the organizations that are hiring in the region, but also helps the organizations meet stand-out students that are ready and willing to work. WestPACS is sponsored by companies in the Pittsburgh area such as Panera Bread, Enterprise, Mylan, and UPMC. These sponsors set up their own tables at the job fair looking for future candidates to hire.
The most recent job and internship fair occurred October 14, hosting more than 160 employers seeking outgoing and educated individuals. A majority of the programs offered at Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) require internships before graduation, which makes this fair an outstandingly important event to students on campus.
Preparing for the job fair does not take much effort compared to how significant the outcome is. Tidy up your resume, put on your clean slacks, and throw on that beautiful smile that you love to show off. The fair offers five hours, from 10 to 3 o’clock, to show off what you have and network with companies such as Aflac, Duquesne Light, U.S. Peace Corps, Farmers Insurance and many more.
Jim Shields, Penn State New Kensington’s Career Services Coordinator, appeared at the last job fair as the announcer. Shields has worked with WestPACS for many years and believes that this is a vital opportunity for students coming close to graduating. “Getting hired nowadays has a lot to do with personal connections. You are laying down the groundwork and creating a lasting impression that you can’t get by Google searching and applying online,” Shields said.
The next WestPACS job fair will be held March 9 at the Monroeville Convention Center starting at 3 p.m. The only difference this time is that the job fair occurs during PSNK student’s spring break. “Most students excuse to missing the fair is that it interferes with class time,” Shields explained. “I’m hoping students will take a couple hours out of their day, put their spring break on hold for a very short time and go look for a job or internship.”
Another opportunity, The Annual Spring Career Day with the Research Fair will occur on campus April 14. Everyone on campus is here for the same reason: get a degree which will lead to a good job. Why not start looking for that perfect internship or job now?
The amount of opportunities seem endless, one just has to get out there and start networking.