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The University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering said it is hosting the largest career fair in its history on Tuesday.
Organizers said it’s a sign that more companies are feeling confident about hiring people for science and engineering jobs. There will be 133 companies present for the fall career fair, up 56 percent from last year’s event.
“It’s exciting that there’s so much demand,” said Mark Sorenson-Wagner, director of the Career Center for Science and Engineering.
About 20 companies on a wait list were turned away from the event because the career fair’s venue, TCF Bank Stadium, will be at full capacity, Sorenson-Wagner said.
Sorenson-Wagner said he believes the increase was due to companies feeling less tentative about hiring and expected retirements in the sector. In addition, organizers increased marketing efforts for this fall’s event, including reaching out to smaller to medium-sized businesses, he said. \
Companies that were involved in past career fairs, but became less active during the recession, are now coming back to recruit students, Sorenson-Wagner said.
Unemployment remains high for people in their early twenties. A Star Tribune report shows that many recent graduates are still struggling to find work and some are working jobs that they are overqualified for.
At the U’s College of Science and Engineering, 90 percent of undergraduates graduating in the 2009 to 2010 school year had a full time job or were enrolled in a professional or graduate school program. That’s compared to what’s typically 95 or 98 percent before the recession, Sorenson-Wagner said.
Still, Sorenson-Wagner said he’s hopeful that the percentage will increase, based on the anecdotal evidence he’s seeing.
The fall career fair, organized by the U and the college’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, will take place at TCF Stadium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed to the U’s science and engineering undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni.