Students and faculty stop by the STEM fair on the quad. Lindsey Parker | Guest Contributor
Saddleback College hosted a science, technology, engineering and math job and internship fair to allow students to meet with top Orange County companies sharing opportunities to work within their fields. This fair was open to students on Wed. April 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Full-time and continuing education positions were available for all students.
Students and employers were notified to register in Handshake, an online recruiting platform used to connect students and alumni to internships, jobs, and career opportunities. Notifications were sent via students’ Saddleback emails and also posted on the college’s Instagram page.
“We have 23 employers here at this event,” said Eric Hilden, the career placement officer and coordinator of the event at Saddleback College. “A targeted, smaller event, but the employers I have talked to today have really enjoyed attending a specific event like this so they can direct their message to the right students.”
All Saddleback College students were invited to speak with recruiters and hiring managers, build their network and explore potential career opportunities. Participants were encouraged to come professionally dressed with their tailored resume and a 30-second pitch. All students interested in working in one of these fields were invited to attend.
Companies participating in the career fair include Applied Medical, Irvine Ranch Water District, Mission Viejo Social Security Administration, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, ATI Materials and more.
Dorain Cassell, director of Operations of Child & Youth Development at the YMCA of Orange County, leads a program providing gym facilities, memberships, yoga, basketball, youth sports, Kid Zone, and a child care department on elementary and middle school campuses. The YMCA is always looking for employees to work either with kids or in the gym facilities.
“For our on-campus childcare programs and gym facilities, we do look for applicants who are in or are interested in the childcare field,” Cassell said. “The kids can take you for a run sometimes so we’re looking for someone who is outgoing and is able to walk up to anyone and introduce themselves.”
Cassell says she has found plenty of success recruiting at and attending job and career fairs, regardless of the applicant’s majors. After 10 years in her position at the YMCA, she enjoys talking to college students about their next steps. She advises students looking for work or an internship to look closely and read up on the companies attending career fairs because there is plenty of experience out there if you research.
“As a non-STEM major I wasn’t sure if I should attend the career fair,” said Keira Rowland, a child development student at Saddleback College. “I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the YMCA was coming, so I took the chance and had some really helpful conversations with the women there.”
Rowland plans to pursue elementary teaching after transferring to a 4-year university to complete her degree and is happy she took the leap of faith and attended the career fair. She was excited to receive some tips and learn more about another option available to her with her child development degree.
The STEM fair is one of three job and internship fairs planned for the 2023 spring semester. A health and wellness fair and an all-industries fair are lined up for the end of April and the beginning of May and are available for all students to sign up for.
“We are building up to our health and wellness event,” Hilden said. “We plan to have around 50 employers there and then around 75 at our all-industries event later this spring.”
More information on the upcoming career fairs is available through the student’s Saddleback College email as well as the college’s Instagram page.