Issue 381: 5 / 2 / 2011

Southwest’s Spring Career Fair Welcomes New Vendors

Career wear from the Ann ...

Career wear from the Ann Taylor specialty retail store was showcased at the 2011 Spring Fling/Career Fair.

Southwest hosted its annual “Spring Fling /Career Fair,” April 13 and 14, and it was a great opportunity for the Southwest students to mix and mingle on the plaza and breeze-way at the Union Avenue and Macon Cove campuses while exploring career opportunities. This year, over half of the vendors, 11 out of 20, were first-time participants. Among them were Nike, Ann Taylor-Wolfchase, Taco Bell, and Whole Health Chiropractic.

Administrative Assistant for Career Services Shirley Dozier-Martin indicated that normally a cross-section of the Memphis area business community is invited to participate in the Career Fair. “Our objective is to expose our students/graduates to employers who are interested in hiring them. By virtue of the fact that they participate, indicates that employers recognize the value in our product – potential employees who possess the skills needed to be successful in entry-level positions,” said Dozier-Martin.

According to the Southwest Career Services staff, the overall feedback from employers was positive. Most were able to identify several potential and interested candidates. Several vendors, they said, expressed their pleasure in seeing many of the attendees dressed appropriately and presenting themselves in a positive way.

Representatives from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development were on hand at the Union Avenue event to provide a preview of the new Career Coaches – mobile centers with services similar to those offered at the Tennessee Career Centers. “The Career Coaches will soon be making appearances all over the state in order to reach out to job seekers and employers alike," said Brenda Williams, director of Career Services for Southwest. “We look forward to having them visit Southwest in the near future.”

Ann Taylor (specialty apparel retail chain stores for women)-Wolfchase displayed professionally-dressed mannequins to showcase appropriate attire for the interview as well as the workplace. They talked with students and stressed the importance of good grooming and professional appearance, no matter what kind of position they were seeking.

When asked what is the climate of the current job market for Southwest students, Career Services responded:

The unemployment rate in the Memphis area at the end of March 2011 was 10.4 percent. A large number of the unemployed have been the victims of downsizing and massive layoffs. That poses a particular problem for our students who graduate expecting to get a job in their major field. The reality is that they will be in competition with experienced workers seeking to go back to work. Preparation, networking and persistence will be extremely important if these graduates hope to land a job with little or no experience in their chosen profession. But help is on the way. Electrolux announced recently the opening of a manufacturing facility that will bring about 1,200 jobs to Memphis along with another 1,500 to 2,000 jobs which will be created by suppliers and supporters of Electrolux. Also, City Brewing Company will add another 500 jobs to the Memphis economy when it takes over the Hardy Bottling Company facilities. These additions will give our students/graduates new sources for job prospects.

The Career Services Office offers assistance to students in the form of job postings on the Southwest Career Services website, resume assistance, KUDER ® Career Planning, mock interviews, job search strategies and career counseling. The Career Fair is just one more way to reach out to students in their quest for employment.

View the 20ll Spring Fling/Career Fair Photo Gallery.