University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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phone: (715) 836-4741
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UW-Eau Claire Students Continuing to be
Recruited for Internships and Jobs

 MAILED:  July 24, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - More Chippewa Valley employers than ever are recruiting University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students for internships and full-time jobs, a sign that community partnership efforts are paying off for employers and students seeking employment, Career Services director Jeanne Skoug said.

"The number of Chippewa Valley employers contacting our office is up 65 percent," Skoug said. The increase comes at a time when employers nationwide report they expect to cut hiring of new graduates by 42 percent.

Partnerships with Chippewa Valley employers, economic developers and workforce leaders also have contributed to the increase in internships and full-time jobs available to students and graduates, Skoug said.

In February, funding was secured to provide stipends to encourage Chippewa Valley employers to initiate internship programs, Skoug said. The Bill Boyken/Charter Bank Fund, to be used each academic year through 2006, is intended to encourage local employers to incorporate interns into their staffing through financial assistance.

"Research shows that after an internship, students earn higher grades in the classroom and receive higher salary offers in their job search," Skoug says.

To get the word out to local employers, UW-Eau Claire worked with the Chippewa Valley Technical College to recruit, train and implement a Student Internship Sales Team, and to participate in Chippewa Valley career and employer events.

"It's been rewarding to partner with the community on projects such as our 'Come to College/Stay for Career' program that informs students about jobs in the local area," Skoug said. "I'd like to think these marketing efforts are really starting to make a difference."

Another reason for the increase is the wider range of jobs available in the area, she said.

"The Eau Claire area is a more diversified employment market since Uniroyal left. There is more international business and a wider variety of opportunities," Skoug said. "Local employers seek out our students and alumni, who have a reputation for strong communication skills, the ability to work independently and as part of a team, and for having an exceptional work ethic."

A national survey in April found that 36 percent of the nation's employers plan to hire new graduates this year. In general, Skoug said, opportunities are industry-based and regionally based. For example, education graduates can most likely find teaching positions in the Southwest and Florida.

The survey showed service sector employers are most likely to hire new graduates; the steepest hiring cuts have been in the manufacturing area. Last year government and non-profit jobs were a bright beacon in the employment landscape, but this year they're down, Skoug said.

"Construction, consulting firms and public accounting firms expect to add the most employees," Skoug said. "My sense is that employers are cautiously optimistic about the future."

While some seniors are delaying their job search because they are uncertain about the economy, Skoug said students who are aggressive and go after jobs are getting them.

"They need to realize their first job gives them a chance to prove themselves, hone their skills and make new contacts," Skoug said. "While it may not be their dream job, they should realize that it's not the rest of their lives."

Career Services brings opportunities to the attention of students, while working with employers to make it easier for them to connect with students and alumni, Skoug said. For example, employers can access the Blugold CareerLink, an electronic resume posting and database system, from the Career Services Web site. Employers can post positions, collect resumes and set up interviews on campus or in their offices via the Employer's Guide section of the site. They also can review online resumes posted by students and alumni.

The university's centralized Internship Center has helped reduce the confusion and frustrations students reported when individual departments handled internships.

"While some internships are major-specific, most are open to students from many majors," Skoug said. "The Internship Center ensures students from all majors get the information. It helps increase the number, diversity and breadth of opportunities, and it helps students acquire the skills to ensure that the internship is a successful experience."


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: July 24, 2003