Career Conference part of larger recruiting strategy for companies like Xcel Energy

Event Feb. 26-29 will feature more than 320 employers over four days at Memorial Student Center
Xcel Energy provided pizza and met on campus with construction management students prior to the Spring Career Conference.
​Jerry Poling | February 21, 2024

The Spring Career Conference will feature more than 320 employers as they recruit UW-Stout students for full-time jobs and internships.

One of the employers will be Xcel Energy, the Fortune 500 company that serves about six million customers in eight states, including Wisconsin and Minnesota. The event Monday through Thursday, Feb. 26-29, at the Memorial Student Center, however, is just one part of Xcel Energy’s larger, ongoing relationship with UW-Stout.

Xcel Energy is one of more than 15 members of the Career Services Partnership Program, which connects employers to students in additional ways. The program helps Xcel Energy “be more proactive with our company’s outreach efforts to recruit students more effectively,” said Bob Schultz, Xcel Energy Community Service manager in western Wisconsin

Bob Schultz, Xcel Energy Community Service manager in western Wisconsin
Bob Schultz, Xcel Energy Community Service manager in western Wisconsin. / Contributed photo

Xcel Energy’s Recruiting Office and Operations Department will have a booth on two days at the Career Conference. Operations also will take part in Prep Week for the event, Feb. 19-23, as students work on their resumes and brush up on interview skills.

About 2,000 students are expected to attend the Career Conference.

Xcel Energy is represented on the program advisory committee for the construction management major. Leading up to the Career Conference, the company hosted a pizza party for construction majors, highlighting the wide range of company career opportunities and sharing the company’s clean energy story.

“At Xcel Energy, we’re more than an energy company,” said Brian Elwood, Xcel Energy’s regional vice president in Wisconsin and Michigan. “We’re reinventing how we power our communities. Redefining how we care for customers. And we’re committed to hiring a workforce that reflects the areas we serve.”

It’s not just construction majors that Xcel Energy hires. In recent years, it has hired students from six undergraduate and three graduate programs, 21 full time and 12 interns. The graduates are from mechanical engineering, business, management, information technology, risk control, computer and electrical engineering, and more.

In May, Xcel Energy will begin hiring interns for 2025. Nearly 170 were hired companywide last year. More than 150 likely will be hired this year. 
 

More than 15 companies, like Xcel Energy, are part of the Career Services Partnership Program.
More than 15 companies, like Xcel Energy, are part of the Career Services Partnership Program. / UW-Stout

“It has been our experience that UW-Stout has consistently provided graduates with solid leadership skills and who are job ready as they have already experienced real workforce occupations as part of their curriculum,” Schultz said.

More than 1,100 students enroll each year in Career Services’ national award-winning Cooperative Education and Internship Program, with 59% of them working in Wisconsin. 

Xcel Energy is a great place to work, Schultz said.

“The variety of career offerings at Xcel Energy provides for long-term employment through advancement opportunities and challenging occupations,” said Schultz, a 1981 UW-Stout graduate.

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Bryan Barts, Career Services director, is proud to work closely with Xcel Energy.

“Xcel has been a great partner employer and continues to find new ways to get involved, including sending representatives to connect with students getting prepared for the Career Conference at our Blue Devil Prep for Success event, held each semester,” Barts said.

Other companies in the Career Services Partnership Program are: EVCO, Fastenal, Sundt, Menards, Domtar, Greenheck Group, Heartland Business Systems, Phillips Medisize, Sentry, John Roberts, Market & Johnson, Nexen, Skyward, Dirks Group, Western Specialty Contractors and Wildnerness Resort.

The Career Conference will highlight different academic/industry areas each day:

  • Monday: Computing, Data, Software and Security 
  • Tuesday morning: Packaging, Print and Design 
  • Tuesday afternoon: Science and Engineering 
  • Wednesday: Construction 
  • Thursday: Management, Business, Hospitality and Human Sciences 

UW-Stout’s Career Conference, also held each fall, is one of the largest in the Midwest, with more than 2,500 employers attending the past eight semiannual events.

The event contributes to the success of recent graduates, who have an employment rate of 99.4%.

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