Students Seek Employment

Original: May 10, 2011 Issue 16

By: Hugo Najerra

Contributing Writer

Five hundred Montgomery College students met 52 area employers in hopes of finding jobs at the Spring Job Fair on April 19. The Rockville Theater Arts Building was packed with tables, music and chatter from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., reflecting positive energy despite mixed feelings about job prospects.

According to Job Opportunity Counselor Shirley Bliss, this was the largest number of companies present in her ten years contributing to the event. Companies ranged from fast food restaurants, retail stores, talent agencies, law enforcement, to home repair, offering part and fulltime work.

Even with the large number of potential employers, students shared an ambivalent range of satisfaction regarding the jobs offered at this year’s fair. “I wouldn’t say disappointed,” said Biomedical Engineering student Abdalla Janjari, “but I couldn’t find what I was looking for.”

Julianne Granados, who is finishing up her studies in Pharmacy, and will soon transfer to Towson, said she would not apply for too many jobs from the fair, but found some that would serve well for summer work.

One international student, Kelly Alaveda, who found out about the job fair after seeing a flyer posted on the day of the event, shared that she was able to find and apply to a really good job prospect.

Many employers seemed more optimistic. Several companies have taken part in the fair for the last four or five years and happily admitted that dozens of students signed up for their mailing lists during the first hour. “I’ve given out 25 applications, which is unprecedented,” said Bill Witte, Montgomery College Math teacher and representative for the Washington District Football Officials Association.

Angel Santiago, from Washington Talent Agency shared his enthusiasm in meeting Montgomery College students. “When you come to MC, it seems that people are more eager,” Santiago said, “and that’s exactly the kind of people we are looking for.”

There was contention between employers and students regarding the importance of Montgomery College education in preparing students for work, as several companies admitted they are not looking for any particular qualifications for employment.

Regional Office Administrator for Bankers Life and Casualty, Cindy Connelly, said they don’t seek a particular background of study since her company offers their own training program.

Sal Gillio, from home repair company Thompson Creek, shared a similar attitude towards academic preparation and work readiness. “It’s not always necessary to have a degree,” he said, “but you know we are here looking for people who need more jobs, people who want to make money, want to be a professional.”

Montgomery County Police Officer, Ora Murray, said students must meet the minimum qualifications of 60 credits in any field, and suggested taking a Criminal Justice course to be considered for a job as a police officer. These educational prerequisites seemed to stick out in comparison to the other companies’ expectations of college students.

Overall, students held high praise for Montgomery College and its ability to prepare them for finding work. “MC has been great in giving students the tools to succeed,” said Janjari.

Another Pharmacy student, Shila Mindot, gave praises to the college, and in particular the student services offices that helped her with resume building and targeting jobs. “I’m glad I found MC,” she said, “thanks to the organizing team of Montgomery College!”

Shirley Bliss, who worked with employers and students, felt that the event was hugely successful. She noted the eagerness of students to approach tables and inquire about job opportunities. She shared the story of one particular student, who is about to graduate with a certificate in personal training, impressed a company so much that he was immediately hired at the fair.