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Up at UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: March 18, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — More employers than ever are recruiting University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students for internships and full-time jobs, a sign that the university's reputation for excellence is serving its students and graduates well in these challenging economic times, the Career Services staff says.
"The number of employers contacting our office is up 37 percent from a year ago," Jeanne Skoug, Career Services director, said, noting the increase comes at a time when schools across the country are reporting dramatic decreases in campus recruitment activity and a national survey found employers plan to hire 20 percent fewer university graduates this year than last year.
"Given the economy, employers are being careful to make the right hire. They have confidence in our students and graduates so they're seeking them out."
UW-Eau Claire students and alumni have a reputation for having strong communication and problem-solving skills, the ability to work independently and as part of a team, and for having an exceptional work ethic, Skoug said of what attracts employers to the university. She also noted that the partnerships UW-Eau Claire has developed with Chippewa Valley employers, economic developers and workforce leaders has contributed to the increase in the numbers of internship and full-time jobs available to students and graduates, she said.
Employers recruiting UW-Eau Claire students range from small regional organizations to large international businesses, said Sharon Becker, career and employment coordinator. Campus recruiters now include museums, non-profit organizations, government offices, and health care and research facilities, as well as businesses of varying sizes and types, she said.
"Our goal is to create opportunities for all of our students, regardless of their major," Becker said, noting that more than 200 employers have participated in on-campus career fairs this year. "We're attracting a variety of organizations and they're based in geographic areas that are of interest to our students."
For example, students often indicate an interest in finding jobs in the Twin Cities or the Chippewa Valley so special outreach efforts have been made to ensure that employers in those regions consider UW-Eau Claire students for internship and job opportunities, Becker said.
The number of internships available to students has increased significantly in recent years as employers and students have expressed a growing interest in such opportunities, Becker said.
"Employers know that internships are the best way to recruit the very best students," Skoug said. "They connect with students early and have time to assess their skills in real-world situations. And students get a chance to check out employers or possible careers."
Approximately 70-80 percent of students who complete internships are offered full-time positions and 55-60 percent of the students who are offered full-time positions accept those offers, Becker said. "Internships are a powerful tool for the employer and the student," she said.
Career Services brings opportunities to the attention of students, while also 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 Career Services' Web site, uwec.edu/career. 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, participate in recruitment events on campus and post jobs on the electronic Vacancy Bulletin.
UW-Eau Claire's centralized Internship Center was funded in part by differential tuition dollars, Skoug said, noting that in 1996 students agreed to pay $50 per semester more than their tuition to fund things that enhance their university experience. The Center was among the things supported with those funds, an initiative that has helped reduce the confusion and frustration students reported when internships were handled by individual departments, she said.
"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 also 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."
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 18, 2002