Ball State job fair rocks
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE,IN - The employment market is improving, according to one Ball State University career manager, and Thursday's Cardinal Job Fair reflected more employers and more openings for new job seekers.
The job fair Thursday afternoon at Worthen Arena and featured more than 70 employers ranging from retailers to computer firms and medical and health care providers to finance and investment firms.
James Mitchell, who directs employer relations for Ball State Career Center, said hot jobs were still in computers, sales and actuarial science. And he sees employment getting better with more openings and more opportunity. More than 500 students and alumni attended the event.
The job fair always counts on local retailers like Lowe's Home Improvement to do their spring hiring, filling dozens of positions with college student looking for summer work. Then there is Angie's List, that giant consumer pyramid service, with headquarters in Indianapolis, and always needing more help writing and advertising.
Big retailers like Wal-Mart and Kohl's Department Store also were looking for part-time help. One unique employer is Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation that is looking for biology, zoology and chemical technology majors.
The big event was Red Frog Events that advertises the need for event coordinators, graphics and web designers, information techs and other accounting and legal jobs. The Chicago based event planner boasts a group of websites and other online marketing that was recognized as one of the top work places by the Chicago Tribune last year.
Remy International also had a cool approach to attract interns for accounting, technical, financial and other business positions. Pairs of sunglasses and Remy water containers were to giveaways to work for the well known the Remy brand name starting in 1918 and now going green, making parts for hybrid cars and trucks. And the company is going public soon to attract more capital and investment to sell more products worldwide.
Mitchell did not have number of students who got jobs from recent fairs, but said it was a good first step toward getting an interview and ultimately an offer.
Casey Zimmer, a Ball State graduate student, is finishing her master's in speech therapy, but her husband, Andrew needs a job in communication. He has worked retail and wants to write. Social media combined with the decline of big media has limited opportunity in journalism and communications.
Despite current job opportunities, the employment scene could get worse this summer with projected $5 a gallon gasoline prices and a possible war between Israel and Iran.
Michael Hicks, a Ball State economist, projected hiring at a standstill with higher gas prices. The only big hiring going on is at Progress Rail Services where hundreds are being hired to assemble locomotives. And a new call center, TeleServices Direct, is putting about 150 people to work.