Issue 434: 10 / 1 / 2012

Southwest's 2012 Fall Career Fair Holds Promise

The 2012 Annual Fall Career ...

The 2012 Annual Fall Career Fair offered Southwest students a variety of employment options to consider.

Southwest’s Annual Fall Career Fairs may well be an indicator that the job outlook is getting brighter for Mid-Southerners. A combined total of more than 30 businesses came out to discuss employment opportunities at the college's Macon Cove and Union Avenue campuses on September 19 and 20.

“While we are still collecting feedback from participants, we can tell you that we saw an increase in the number of students and employers who participated in both events … plus an improvement in the overall preparedness of Southwest students,” commented Director of Career Services Brenda Williams.

The event was the largest since the recession hit. Regulars like FedEx Express, Flinn Broadcasting Corp., and AFLAC were joined by some first timers. Amber Reaves, marketing manager and office assistant for Fowler Engineering, was there to recruit drafters. Fowler is a structural engineering firm located in northern Mississippi that specializes in designing structural systems. “We are looking for structural drafters. We need people to be able to actually illustrate our plans that we send out to architects,” said Reaves.

Fowler uses a variety of software programs in its operation, but is partial to Revit, a BMI (Building Information Modeling) program. “It is almost like a videogame – it’s 3-D and you can walk through, turn it around and zoom in on a certain beam or structure. It’s becoming the standard for our profession,” Reaves explained. “So we are really looking for someone who is interested in learning that software or already has experience with it.”

This year the Homeland Security Grant Program teamed up with Career Services to expand the Fall 2012 Career Fair to include homeland security-related organizations. There were recruiters from local and federal agencies who are involved in homeland security. These included: Memphis Police Department (MPD), Shelby County Sherriff’s Office, TSA (Transportation Security Administration), FBI, Tennessee National Guard, University of Memphis ROTC, and MLGW.

“The career field in homeland security encompasses multiple career fields from law enforcement officers, to scientific researchers, to critical infrastructure workers. The participation by homeland security-related organizations exposed over 1,500 students to a variety of these career opportunities and allowed personal interaction with representatives from agencies who are currently hiring. The event was a great success,” said Donald Drewry, Homeland Security Grant Program coordinator for Southwest.

Mid-South law enforcement agencies demonstrated firsthand how exciting a career in law enforcement can be. Lieutenant L.A. Currin of the MPD said, “We wanted to present the image that the police department is broad. We have a wide range of job possibilities, not just answering calls or taking reports. An officer may be recruiting – we brought a super awesome recruiting vehicle with all the lights, bells and whistles. We have a license-plate-reader car equipped with a camera so if a car is driving past, we can capture the license plate and pull up all kinds of data about the vehicle’s owner.”

Some of the other technology MPD demonstrated included:

  • DUI Simulation
  • Impaired Driver Obstacle Course
  • Sky Cop
  • Dog Unit
  • Firearms Training Unit

“We're putting a different spin on fighting crime and we're making it more interactive for the officers themselves, and making it more fun for the officers as well. Because [youth] nowadays are technology savvy, we wanted them to see that we have technology, too. If they're into computers, we have computers. If they’re into programming, we have programming. ... We want to show them the kinds of things we offer as a police department,” Lt. Currin concluded.

View the 2012 Annual Fall Career Fair Photo Gallery.