Graduates, future graduates flood job fair

February 4, 2009 5:58:32 PM PST
In the midst of the worst economic downturn in 50 years, thousands of local college students are about to jump into the job market.Because of that timing, NC State is expecting the largest turnout ever for its two-day engineering job fair that kicked off Wednesday.

Eyewitness News attended the job fair to find out how college graduates are feeling about the job prospects.

Many of the students are graduating in may. A year ago, they could have had their pick of jobs and named their salaries.

But most, like Hima Arumbaker, are concerned about their prospects.

"The companies are having hiring freezes all over," Arumbaker said. "And the other problem that we are seeing is that a lot of people have already been laid off -- people with two years experience, three years experience have been laid off, and we have to compete with them."

Arumbaker visited the Cree booth at the job fair. She knows Cree is a local company that is still performing well in the weak economy.

That's because LED lighting products are energy efficient and cost effective.

And now the company is reaping the benefits of the uncertainty in the job market.

"We think we can find some top level candidates who have some very unique skill sets," said Josh Northington, Cree recruiter. "Especially candidates sitting at other companies right now who are worried about whether or not they're gonna be in the next round of layoffs."

And it appears this year that a number of those attending the job fair are not current students but people well into their careers.

Many of the companies here at the job fair are actually finding themselves in the thick of the economic fray. There's rumors of layoffs at IBM, but company representatives were at the job fair looking for candidates.

Some May graduates are hopeful about their employment future.

"It doesn't really pay to be pessimistic at times like this," engineering student Jordan Price explained. "I think it's important to focus on goals and keep a positive attitude."

Price sees his job search as a challenging problem, and he says that's basically what engineering is -- being presented with a problem and solving it.

If you're looking for an engineering job, you may want to check out NC State's job fair. It will be going on through Thursday at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.


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