Record number of employers at Fall Career Fair

October 1 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Despite these uncertain times and the gloomy economic news, more than 125 employers were looking to Indiana State University and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students to fill open positions during Wednesday's Career Fair on the campus of Indiana State. More than 950 students attended the event in search of employment.

Kent Waggoner, director of Indiana State's Career Center, was pleased at the number of employers on campus despite the hard economic times.

"We're actually up a couple of employers from last year," he said. "With the current set-up and location we're almost at maximum capacity."

Employers attending the fair represented diverse areas -- from financial services and insurance to public sector, criminal justice and manufacturing. They also had a variety of needs with full- time, part-time, internships, co-ops and summer positions to fill.

Among the employers attending the fair were U.S. Army Health Care, Caterpillar Inc, Cummins Engine Company, Deaconess Health System, Department of Defense- Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Eli Lilly, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana LLC, Indiana State Police, Indiana Excise Police, Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Kemper, Lockton, Mohawk Industries, NAVSEA Warfare Center-Crane, Pepsico-Frito Lay Inc., Polaris Laboratories, Sony DADC and State Farm Insurance.

"It tells me that they have a vision for future growth," Waggoner said. "That is particularly true in the public sector due to demographics," he added.

Waggoner, who spent a number of years in the public sector, attributes it to stability. "The public sector has very low turnover. People are hired and they stay 20-30 years, which translates into large numbers of retirements at one time."

Despite economic concerns, a few of the large companies plan to continue recruiting college graduates.

Honda was looking for students to fill open positions in purchasing, as well as safety, electrical and mechanical engineering.

"We're definitely looking for people who are flexible and willing to learn new things all the time," said Trilanda Colbert, human resources administrator for Honda Manufacturing of Indiana.

"Most of our postings are entry-level, so we're reaching out to Indiana universities," she said. "In fact, most of our engineers have come from Indiana schools."

Colbert said the company is looking forward to a long-term relationship with Hoosier institutions of higher education.

Cummins, one of Indiana's flagship manufacturing companies, was also looking for students to fill a variety of positions.

Rachel Kaczmarek, human resources generalist for Cummins, was looking to fill full-time, hands-on engineering positions.

"We're looking for someone to build and tear down engines," she said. "Students who have grown up working on cars or farm equipment are our ideal candidates."

Travis Vaughan, a repair logistic support manager at Cummins, said because of the growth the company is experiencing they are targeting 500 positions for college graduates.

"We have a wide variety of positions, not just manufacturing," he said. "We have professional positions, such as marketing and finance."

Regardless of the position, Vaughan said the company is looking for people with a customer focus, motivation, flexibility, a strong work ethic and leadership skills.

Cummins is a healthy stable company largely due to the support the company has received from the state of Indiana, Vaughan added.

Eli Lilly was at the fair looking for full-time sales positions, according to Scott Stayer, sales force marketing and operations associate.

"We recruit for sales positions across the country," he said.

The pharmaceutical company doesn't recruit exclusively by major, but rather by profile.

"We look for candidates that do well academically, are entrepreneurial, have good communication skills and have a track record of leadership," said Stayer, a 2001 Indiana State graduate in finance and insurance and risk management.

"We're going to continue hiring in the coming year," Stayer said.

Students weren't just networking with employers at Wednesday's event. In many cases, they were networking with Indiana State alumni like Stayer and Vaughan.

Vaughan, a 2000 Indiana State alumnus, said he has roughly 25-30 Indiana State alumni working in his area alone at Cummins.

The event encourages career exploration and networking, Waggoner said, but in the end it's all about business.

"This is about creating a marketplace where students and employers can meet and learn how they can benefit each other," Waggoner said.

The event is made possible through the generous support of its gold sponsors -- Aflac, Arlington/Roe & Co., Buckle, Disney College Program, Eli Lilly, Flatiron, Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Company, Honda, Indiana Insurance, Ireland Home Based Services, Kroger, Larry E. Nunn and Associates, Old National Insurance, Petsmart, Westfield Insurance and Westrope.

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Contact: Kent Waggoner, ISU Career Center, (812) 237.5000

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812.237.3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Despite these uncertain times and the gloomy economic news, close to 125 employers were looking to Indiana State University and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students to fill open positions during Wednesday's Career Fair on the campus of Indiana State.

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