Hiring outlook encouraging

Aug 12, 2005

Kettering attracts 34 employers for Job Fair, as more than 250 students seek new co-op opportunities.

Neil Bockrath has a unique view of how the job market is going these days. A senior at Kettering University, he is currently in his ninth term as a co-op student for Cooper Tire & Rubber of Findlay, Ohio.

He was at Kettering on Aug. 18 to hire students for professional co-op positions. "Cooper has lifted its hiring freeze, that's why I'm here to help today," Bockrath said. "The economy seems to be turning around. It's looking good from my point of view."

Cooper Tire & Rubber was among the 34 employers who came to Kettering's "Unemployed Student Job Fair." More than 250 Kettering students seeking co-op jobs were well dressed and attentive as they spoke with representatives from a diverse list of potential employers. Many of the 34 employers were hiring for multiple work locations within their company.

Bockrath offered to help Cooper's Lynda Gallant, the corporate employment supervisor, as they looked for just the right co-op students to add to their staff. "I've had a few good interviews so far," Bockrath said. "I'm looking at the ME candidates, and hand off the Computer Engineering and Computer Science co-ops to the other reps."

Gallant was pretty upbeat about the Job Fair, too. "These are great students, very well prepared," she said. "The co-op experience is important to us because we use co-ops as a pipeline for our full-time hiring. We recognize that engineering is vital to what we're doing. We need top students who are able to work hard. That's why we enjoy the Kettering students."

Student Corey Crawford of Lakeview, Mich., was among the 258 seeking a co-op job. "The outlook is encouraging, but the competition is stiff if you're hoping for a good co-op job," Crawford said.

Among the employers hoping to tap into Kettering's talent pool was Doug Petrovich, president of FoodTools. "We're looking for Mechanical Engineers and design engineers, probably one each in A-Section and B-Section," he said. "We already have two Ketterng grads working for us in Santa Barbara, and we've hired one to start later this month.

"When I decided to get into the co-op program, I contacted three schools," Petrovich continued. "As soon as I contacted Kettering, Carmon (Liversedge, a Corporate Relations manager) was all over us. The response was fantastic. I knew of Kettering, but mostly assumed it was an automotive school. Now I've got a stack of resumes to look at."

Petrovich is "high on the economy" right now. "We're busy, extremely busy," he said. "We hope to strengthen our engineering department. We'll have to keep up or we'll lose business to overseas markets."

Bob Nichols, Kettering's vice president for Corporate Relations and Enrollment Management, said he was pleased with the students and employers on campus for the Job Fair. "The students are much more professional in their approach this year, and seem much more prepared." Nichols called attention to the increasing diversity of the employer partner list. "The diversity of companies here today is impressive," he noted. "They range from medical equipment to supply chain solutions and somewhere in there is automotive, heavily automotive. There was even a hospital here today," he added.

Tammy Loud, executive director of Co-op Education and Career Services, said she was pleased that many of the companies were hiring for multiple locations around the country. "The job fairs have been extremely strong in the past few years," she said. "We're 30 percent ahead of last year for co-op hiring. We're very happy in what we're seeing in the market. We're continuing to bring in new employer partners, and with our existing corporate partners, ithelps us expand opportunities for our students."

Written by Patricia Mroczek
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