Employers, like these recruiters in the foreground from Lowe’s home improvement store in Espanola, look to attract the best local talent to their companies at the UNM-LA Job Fair in 2017. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA
By BARBARA E. COHEN
UNM-Los Alamos Office of Student Services
On a bright spring morning last year, Human Resource Manager Baby Matousek packed her recruitment kit and a list of current job postings for Zia Credit Union, along with an array of engaging gift items, small candy bars and pens designed to attract suitable applicants, as well as snacks to help her remain focused and upbeat while talking to current and graduated UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) students, local high school students and community members from northern New Mexico.
Recruiters like Masoutek and business owners like Cyndi Wells of Pet Pangaea know that a job fair is one of the most effective ways to meet face-to- face with a large pool of potential applicants. The atmosphere is great for chatting and getting a sense of an applicant who might be perfect for their work team.
One such applicant was Nathan Simmonds, a current part-time UNM-LA student and now a full-time employee at Zia Credit Union. He landed the job despite not yet being finished with his coursework for an associate degree in Information Technology, and he now has two years of work experience at the credit union. Other job seekers have obtained internships and summer jobs, including a number of Los Alamos High School students.
Anyone looking for a job or looking to change jobs is welcome to attend this year’s fair, with resumes in hand, 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in building 2 on the UNM-LA campus.
In 2017, about half the attendees looking for a job were from the community. “UNM-Los Alamos looks forward to hosting the job fair on campus every year,” Dr. Cindy Rooney, UNM-LA’s CEO said. “The job fair provides an important opportunity for our students and other prospective employees to interact with a variety of employers.”
The annual UNM-LA Job Fair is part of the branch campus’s mission to assist students with job placement and career advising, and also to serve the community. UNM-LA’s career advisor, Grace Willerton, who is a Global Career Development Facilitator, organizes the annual fair, sending invitations to company recruiters and human resource representatives from a wide range of businesses.
“We strive to bring in many employers looking for job seekers in all walks of life, from those looking for their first job to those looking for a better job to build on their current experience,” Willerton said. “We are always on the lookout for new employers who may have summer, full-time, internship, and other job openings for our students, local high school students, and members of the surrounding community.”
This year over 25 businesses have responded, such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos County offices, Christus St. Vincent Hospital, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, the Pueblo of Pojoaque (including Buffalo Thunder and Cities of Gold), and UNM-Los Alamos itself. There is no cost for a business to set up a table in the UNM-LA Student Center on April 3.
With the job fair now in its fifth year under Willerton’s management, company recruiters and HR representatives know the value of the UNM-Los Alamos Job Fair as a proven tool for finding the best local job seekers. It is one of the many ways that UNM-LA serves the local business and civic community here in northern New Mexico.
UNM-LA is an innovative, rigorous, and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities.