Smiles and excitement were the norm Thursday after the annual Troy University Valentine’s Day Career Fair.
About 30 local employers met with potential future employees at the University’s Dothan Campus as part of the career fair, which attracts an average of about 200 students each year.
This year, though, there was an even more pronounced feeling of excitement in the air.
“This has been phenomenal,” said LaChun Ritter of Laurel Oaks Behavioral Health Center. “We’ve actually gotten some good resumes, we’ve had some great conversations, and we’ve even found some people we are interested in calling back as soon as we get back to the office.”
Sophomore social work major Jalisa Kincey was one of the students who talked with Ritter, and she came away from the fair excited about her future.
“I feel like it’s a stepping stool and a helping hand,” she said of the fair. “Sometimes you don’t have that kind of setup to help us further our careers, so that’s a great thing Troy University does for us. I’ve had a conversation today with Laurel Oaks, Flowers Hospital, Dale Medical Center and Southeast Alabama Medical Center. Just as long as I’m helping someone’s family in need, I’ll be OK.”
Employers in attendance said the job market is good right now, and there are plenty of jobs available.
“For those who are studying and doing what they want to do, the need is always great for that,” Ritter said.
Computer science major Moses Carthon, an aspiring programmer, agreed.
“It’s a great job market. There are jobs everywhere,” he said. “I came to the career fair to see if I can find a position that can give me experience and training so that I can grow my professional career as a computer programmer. It gives you a chance to see where the openings are and talk to the actual owners and workers out there – how is it working at this company, how has it affected your life and what are the benefits of it?”
Some students even left the fair surprised at the opportunities available to them.
“Everybody was really friendly and there were some great companies here,” said Dallas Cooper, a senior communications major who drove from the Troy Campus for the fair. “I think it’s really great, because it connects employers to future employees. It’s nice to be able to actually talk to employers in person. I’m now going to go apply for certain positions that I previously didn’t know about, because a lot of them, like Waffle House and Target, have situations where you can intern with them until May and then take over the position.”
For the University, the event is part of its commitment to helping students succeed after college.
“We have been doing this because we want to help our students succeed,” said Amy Farver, coordinator of the Center for Student Success at the Dothan Campus. “I think the market has increased in recent years, especially in our area because of the initiatives of the City of Dothan. The more we can have these students prepared, the better employees they’ll be for these Wiregrass businesses.”