In light of its successful job fair for local companies in late February, Cal Poly plans to hold another one in the spring quarter next year.
At the urging of the Economic Vitality Corp., the university Career Services center held the event Feb. 23 in Chumash Auditorium. It drew 43 local employers and 376 students and led to more than 75 listings on its website for local paid internships and full-time jobs, according to Carole Moore, program coordinator and career counselor with Career Services.
“It was a great success for us,’’ she said, adding that organizers hope to attract more local businesses and students next year.
Cal Poly had long considered holding such an event, but the proposal from EVC members gave officials the impetus to do it, Moore said. EVC, a regional, nonprofit economic development organization based in San Luis Obispo, helped promote the event among local companies as part of its strategy to build a critical mass of companies and increase private-sector, head-of-household jobs.
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Members of EVC’s knowledge and innovation cluster sought the job fair in hopes of finding needed skilled labor and retaining Cal Poly students locally, according to Christine Rogers, program manager for the organization’s economic strategy project. When participating in the university’s other job fairs, they found it difficult to compete for students against IBM and other large corporations that can offer higher wages, she said. Plus, they found that students who wanted to stay here didn’t know much about local jobs available.
Because Cuesta College has long held job fairs just for area companies, Rogers said, EVC business executives promoted both the new event at Cal Poly and the Cuesta College Career Exploration & Job Fair on March 28.
EVC members are surveying attendees to find out if they hired Cal Poly students and what, if anything, they should change next year. For certain, they hope to involve a broader mix of local companies, as some industries — such as agriculture and tourism — weren’t as well represented, Rogers said.
The job fair for local companies at Cal Poly is in addition to other steps the university takes throughout the year to attract companies nationwide that offer paid internships and full-time jobs for students.
For example, it schedules three two-day job fairs a year for all students — one each in the fall, winter and spring quarters. Each draws 85 to 95 employers nationwide and more than 3,000 students, Moore said. Cal Poly also hosts events for specific student majors throughout the year.