Business is less than usual

By Marcie Heacox

Much like the stock market’s unpredictable swings, students and
employers expressed ups and downs at the fall 2008 Career Day on
Thursday.

Industries that are strong and weak in the current economy were
represented, from engineering to financial services.

“I’ve worked at two places since [my summer internship], and
business has gone down, so hours have gone down,” said Josh Solis,
a fourth-year human resources management student.

Solis looked for retail positions at the career fair, visiting
companies such as Target, Walgreens and Mervyn’s.

Third-year computer information systems student Brett Wooldridge
plans to graduate in spring and looked for a job in his field of
study.

“I’ve just been waiting out for this career fair because people
recommended that this was going to be the one where all of the
major companies pick out their summer workforce,” Wooldridge
said.

Wooldridge had an internship at a fire department for about one
year.

“I was lucky for them to hire me because they still had room in
the budget to put me in,” Wooldridge said. “I don’t know if that
will happen again this year.”

He was also worried that companies may start hiring less people
to do more tasks. This is the reality at Pomona Unified School
District.

“We can’t hire as many as we want to, or really truly need,”
said Sylvia Manning, a retired teacher and principal who
represented the district at the fair. “The kind of people that we
hire have to be people that can do a lot of things,” Sylvia Beltran
of Golden State Water Company said the company came to Cal Poly
because of the campus’s proximity to their corporate office in San
Dimas and their recent creation of an engineering department.

Beltran said the Golden State Water Company has not been
affected by the economic downturn, unlike many others.

“The good thing about working for a public water utility is that
because everyone needs water to exist,” Beltran said. “We do not
have layoffs…we are actually hiring more.”

Melynda Holm, a civil engineering graduate of 2004, has worked
for Golden State Water Company for more than three years and was
one of many alumni representing companies at the fair.

Holm said her skills acquired at Cal Poly helped her immensely
in her career.

“I think Cal Poly students are a step ahead of other
universities because they already have hands-on knowledge, so it’s
a great place to recruit employees from,” Holm said.

The fallout of financial institutions has been the subject of
many news headlines in recent weeks, especially regarding a
government bailout worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Paul Bruns represented Wells Fargo Financial at the career fair.
Wells Fargo has avoided financial collapse thus far.

Bruns said though customers’ trust in Wells Fargo may decrease
in a weakened economy, the bank and financial services company has
not made any changes in its hiring strategy.

“We’ve stayed with what has worked for us in the past,” said
Bruns. “That’s part of why we’re doing well.”

Bruns said one of the main features Wells Fargo looks for in job
applicants is time management ability students can gain from
balancing work and school.

Career center director Tom Munnerlyn suggested that students
graduating this academic year should begin their job search
now.

“[Students should] be ready with a good resume and interviewing
preparation, so they can express to interviewers their skills and
experiences,” said Munnerlyn.

The Fall 2008 Career Day had about 25 less employers compared to
2007, which Munnerlyn considered a small drop.

Business is less than usual

Erik Christansen/Poly Post

Business is less than usual

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