More than 100 companies will participate in a tech job fair at the U's TCF Bank Stadium, up sharply from last year.
The University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering 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 at 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 waiting list were turned away from the event because the venue, TCF Bank Stadium, will be at capacity, Sorenson-Wagner said.
Sorenson-Wagner said he believes the increase is a result of companies feeling less tentative about hiring and of 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 20s. At the U's College of Science and Engineering, 90 percent of students graduating in the 2009-10 school year had a full-time job or were enrolled in a professional or graduate school program. That's compared with 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. Tuesday. It is limited to the U's science and engineering undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni.