Job recruiters and job seekers came together Wednesday afternoon at the annual University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Career Day and Teacher Education Fair.
Sponsored by the UAPB Office of Career Services, the event gives students an opportunity to network with potential employers, many of which offer internships as well as permanent positions.
“This is the first job fair I’ve been to here, and it’s been very educational,” said student Angela Brown, a Pine Bluff junior. “In fact, I just received a summer internship as a food inspector with the federal Food Safety and Inspection Service, and I’ll be working in Little Rock.”
Senior Rachael Duncan of Grapevine also landed an FSIS internship.
“These job fairs help me to better understand the different agencies and the jobs they have to offer,” Duncan said. “It’s information that helps me to plan ahead.”
FSIS is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and was one of nearly 70 employers participating in the event.
The federal Food and Drug Administration’s National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson is a long-time partner in the UAPB offering.
“This is one of the best organized career fairs in the state that I’ve attended,” NCTR Specialty Programs Coordinator Cynthia Davis said. “The facilities are great here and the staff is always helpful.”
NCTR has recruited several employees through the event.
“We look for students with biology, microbiology and chemistry degrees,” Davis said.
The job fair isn’t just for older students nearing graduation.
“I’m just a freshman,” said DeRontreyia Howard of Des Arc. “But I’m enjoying this. I’ve picked up a lot of useful information that I can put to good use in my considerations for the future.”
The Army and Navy had recruiters on hand. Navy Chief Julie Arp, stationed in Little Rock, said her booth had “met with good interest” in Naval officer and enlistment programs.
“We accept all degrees,” Arp said, adding that she and other Naval personnel weren’t just recruiting, but also “enhancing awareness of Naval careers.”
Recruiting coordinator Carmen Helton and Officer Shay Cobbs of the North Little Rock Police Department said they had encountered “some quality candidates” among the students, including several senior criminal justice majors.
“We’ve hired some officers from Pine Bluff before, and others may join us, too,” Helton said.
Jo Burnett and John L Colbert of the Dumas and Fayetteville school districts shared a row of booths with representatives of other education concerns.
“We haven’t had as much success here as I would like,” said Colbert, an associate superintendent. “It’s sometimes hard to recruit UAPB students to Northwest Arkansas, but we have a lot to offer them and we keep trying.
“It’s a competitive market,” he said. “There’s not a shortage of teachers in Northwest Arkansas, but there is a shortage of black and other minority teachers.”
Meanwhile, Burnett – an elementary school principal and Dumas’ teacher recruitment specialist – said her district has hired several UAPB graduates during her three years as a recruiter.
“UAPB’s teachers are always well-trained here,” she said. “I’ve had some good secondary and elementary education contacts here today, and I feel good about them interviewing with us.”
Burnett said she has a “true appreciation” for UAPB and its education fair.
“They provide a good job market with this event,” she said.