Helane Androne, Tracey Hoffman, Garry Bowyer, and Susan Vincent , of Miami University, talk during a reverse job fair at Miami University’s Voice of America Learning Center, Friday, Mar. 10, 2017. In a reverse from the norm, companies were invited to the school to talk with students and learn about what Miami University has to offer. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Miami regionals try ‘reverse job fair’ to connect students, employers

The first-of-its-kind job fair at Miami’s Voice of America Learning Center saw more than two dozen representatives from Southwest Ohio and Dayton-area employers visiting 12 regional campus degree-granting departments at their information tables.

Officials from the 12 departments — which offer 17 different two and four-year degrees — at Miami’s regional campuses in Middletown and Hamilton, pitched the merits of their programs and the employability of their students for private industry internships and post-graduation jobs.

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Unlike the traditional job fair, where employers are manning the informational tables for students to peruse, business officials were instead the invited guests feted with lunch and plenty of handouts. Those companies and organizations interested in interviewing students from the various Miami degree-programs exchanged information that may lead to meetings and the eventual hiring of Miami regional students.

The five career areas of the 17 degree areas highlighted at the event were: health; business and leadership; science and technology; communication and creativity and community service.

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Employers appreciated the one-stop shopping approach set up by Miami officials.

“I like it,” said Scott Osterfeld, director of organizational development for Dayton-based Echoing Hills Village. “It’s great having so many degrees in the same place.”

“We’re hiring lots of different folks in the human services so I talked to the Human Services, Psychology and Communications (degree departments) for internships and I would love to have more folks come and work for our organization,” said Osterfeld.

Brennan Burks, spokesman for the Miami University Middletown regional campus, said “this is the first ever, reverse job fair … and we’re trying to connect our new degrees (offered at the regionals) to our employers in the region.”

“We’re trying to not only build pipelines for our students and future employees but also connections to help industry and education build our communities in the region,” said Burks.

The event offered area employers the chance to learn how the regionals are preparing students to meet the needs of local and regional employers, said school officials. And it was also an opportunity for employers can learn how to increase their presence and visibility on-campus in an effort to connect with academically qualified students.

Brooke Flinders, an interim associate dean of the Miami regionals, said “I love the idea that we can connect with people in our community and that we can find out from them what their needs are and then figure out pathways that exist — or pathways that can created — to meet the needs of our employers and also our students.”

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