Beth Brinkmann, a University of Wisconsin-Stout alumna and human resources manager for the Greenheck Group of Wausau, has been attending Career Conferences at UW-Stout for 13 years.
“It’s one of our must-have recruited schools,” Brinkmann said. “It’s because of the rate of success. We’ve gotten a lot of great employees from UW-Stout.”
UW-Stout’s Spring Career Conference began Tuesday, Feb. 27, and continues 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the Multipurpose Room of the Sports and Fitness Center.
The conference has about 400 employers attending and about 2,000 students. UW-Stout hosts a Fall Career Conference in October. Alumni also are welcome to attend.
With a low state unemployment rate in January of about 3 percent, tied for the lowest on record, job prospects are excellent for job-seekers, Brinkmann said. “It’s a students’ market right now,” Brinkmann said.
About 200 of the 2,800 employees at Wausau-based Greenheck Group are UW-Stout graduates, Brinkmann said. She graduated from UW-Stout in 1992 with a degree in business administration. Greenheck manufactures industrial and commercial air movement products.
One of the company’s challenges is attracting employees because it’s in a smaller town, but once employees start they don’t want to leave the area, Brinkmann said.
Quint Schmidt, 20, a junior majoring in packaging from Hawkins, was at the Career Conference Tuesday looking for a co-op or internship.
“It is a really good way to talk to companies,” Schmidt said.
Fellow packaging major Nicole Gutzmann, 23, a senior from Woodbury, Minn., was also looking for a co-op or internship position. Last summer and fall she did a co-op at Schreiber Foods, headquartered in Green Bay.
She encouraged other students to take the time to attend the Career Conference and meet with employers. “It definitely gets your name out,” Gutzmann said. “Employers come here because they want to recruit fresh ideas, and they are really welcoming of that.”
Blake Gabriel, a 2008 UW-Stout packaging graduate, was manning the booth for Kimberly-Clark of Neenah. He started working at Kimberly-Clark after doing a co-op there. He volunteered to help recruit students at the Career Conference.
“It’s fun to meet the students,” he said. “We were all in their shoes at one time.”
Gabriel agreed that recruitment is very competitive.
Elaine Linh, a May 2016 packaging degree graduate, also was recruiting for Kimberly-Clark. “It’s nice to see the other side of recruiting,” Linh said. “I think I relate pretty well to students looking for jobs.”
Courtney Ommen, a professional communications and emerging media senior from Hastings, Minn., said she found the Career Conference helpful. Employers were sharing information about job openings that they may not have listed.
“I like meeting with companies I wouldn’t have considered,” Ommen said. “I also learn a lot about local companies I didn’t know existed.”
Ommen said students should start coming to the Career Conferences as early as their sophomore year in college to look for co-ops, internships and jobs. “The employers remember you,” Ommen said.
About 2,000 students were projected to attend the UW-Stout Spring Career Conference