It was all about employment during job fairs held last week at Wallace State Community College, with dozens of area employers on hand to meet hundreds of potential employees.

The Wallace State Community College Student Resource Center hosted the two-day event, splitting the job fairs between the Health Science programs on Wednesday and the Applied Technologies, General Studies/Liberal Arts and S.T.E.M. on Thursday. The main goal was to help Wallace State students meet with potential employers.

“My favorite thing is to see students making those connections for their future and discovering things they didn’t know about, and different companies,” said Jamie Blackmon, Job Placement Coordinator at Wallace State. For example, along with representatives from a number of area hospitals, there were also representatives with the Veterans Administration and the Army. “They’re looking for healthcare professionals, to recruit them,” Blackmon said of the Army.

For Health Science faculty, the event served multiple purposes. Lori Strane of the Medical Assistant program used the fair as an opportunity to not only expose her students to future employment opportunities, but also as a teaching opportunity and to secure more clinical sites for her students.

For her students who are about to graduate, she wants to help them find jobs, Strane said. “And for first-level students, we can get them prepared for this time next year when they will be looking for full-time employment,” she said. They learn how to dress professionally and get practice on speaking with human resource representatives. “As you can tell, I’m not hanging with them, so they’re having to do it on their own,” she said.

Wallace State students in attendance on Wednesday appreciated the opportunities to meet with so many different representatives from health care facilities.

Diagnostic Imaging students Karle Posey of Cullman and Jordan Barr of Morris walked around the Peinhardt Conference together as they visited the different tables. Both will be graduating in May.

“This is super helpful,” said Barr, who currently works in Athens, but is looking for something in the Huntsville area. But they also visited with representatives from UAB, Brookwood and St. Vincent’s.

Posey said at each table they ask if they are currently hiring and would they be looking for new graduates.

Kathy Brown, representing Marshall Medical Centers, said the job fair is very helpful to their locations. “We are able to upcoming and new talent and also help them find positions and help them get their career going,” she said. Brown said she directs the students to the hospital’s website where they can fill out applications for jobs; she also accepted resumes from students attending the job fair.

“I love seeing the excitement and ambition of the students,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”

The enthusiasm was much the same on Thursday during the fair dedicated towards Applied Technologies, General Studies/Liberal Arts and S.T.E.M. majors.

Multiple Applied Technologies Departments had their students visit the event, which featured businesses and industries tailored towards manufacturing, HVAC and welding, among others. There were also multiple four-year colleges and universities on hand.

Wallace State sophomore Janna Martin, a biology major from Odenville, became aware of the fair and decided to stop in before grabbing lunch.

“I thought about it at the spur of the moment and I’m glad I did. I was happy to see the universities here. It makes me more comfortable in my career choice and gives me options. I’ve learned a lot in a short time,” said Martin, who plans to transfer at the end of the semester and pursue an education degree. She wants to ultimately teach high school biology.

Ty White, a sophomore from Tuscumbia, also has aspirations to teach one day and was grateful for Thursday’s event.

“One of my friends mentioned this fair to me and it’s been a valuable visit. These are great opportunities for students,” said White, a general studies major, who hopes to transfer to UNA or West Alabama.

For more information about the opportunities available to students through Wallace State’s Student Resource Center, contact Blackmon at 256.352.8461 or jamie.blackmon@wallacestate.edu.

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