Career Fair comes from humble beginnings

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    By Rob Meier

    It did not begin a long long time ago nor in a galaxy far far away. Actually BYU’s Career Fair began about 10 years ago down in the Garden Court of the old unremodeled Wilkinson Student Center.

    “That first year we only had about 20 – 25 employers attending,” said Wayne Hansen, director of Career Placement Services.

    It all started in the late 80’s when there was a real slump in the employment market. Originally employers came just for a PR visit. Now they come to recruit prospective employees for their company, Wayne said.

    “That first year we did everything we could to get them to come,” Wayne said.

    Micron, Black and Decker, U-DOT, SPS Technologies, American Airlines, Nelson Labs, Kelly Services, Rent A Center, Word Perfect, Novell, U.S. Secret Services, CIA and FBI were a few of the first employers to attend our Career Fair, said Ann Halladay Director the Career Placement Services.

    Utah State University was one of the first colleges to take advantage of a career fair. We saw how successful they were, so we began to really encourage employers to attend, Wayne said.

    The first year we hired a graduate student to take care of all the responsibilities. Since then it has gotten so big we have had to divide up the responsibilities among us in the office, Halladay said.

    Every year we have gotten bigger and bigger. I believe we are one of the biggest in the country, with about 200 employers attending, Hansen said.

    We have done it every year for about the last 10 years. The only year we did not do it was in 1996 when the WSC was being remodeled. By then we were so big with about 150 employers attending that we had no place to go. So we had to skip a year, Halladay said.

    When the fair started out it was all one big fair, offered to the entire student body. As it grew, employers started expressing the need to target specific students with special qualifications. Now there are several sub-career fairs offered to students with degrees in business or engineering, said Jay Ervine of the Investing and Consulting Firms.

    Most credit has to be given to Loyld E. Hawkins for he really worked hard to get the career fair going, said Richard Cox, placement advisor for Career Placement Services.

    Many students will later be hired by employers they meet at the fair, said Jane Cunningham, secretary of the Engineering Technology Department.

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