By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Like other departments across the Grand Canyon University campus, the staff of Strategic Employer Initiatives and Internships (SEI) quickly moved its services online when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
The result: SEI has scheduled four virtual career fairs for the next two weeks, all from 10 a.m. to noon on their respective days:
- Business: Tuesday, April 14
- Education and Fine Arts: Thursday, April 16
- Engineering and Technology: Tuesday, April 21
- Health Services: Wednesday, April 29
The only difference from a normal on-campus career fair is that students are urged to sign up in advance. All they have to do is sign in through the links in the above list and schedule a time to chat directly with a potential employer.
Students still can utilize all the preparation services the Academic and Career Excellence (ACE) Center provides, including help with resumes or interview techniques.
In addition, the Vanguard investment management company conducted two virtual sessions explaining its hiring process, and Great Hearts Academies has similar sessions scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. April 22.
The pivot to virtual career fairs was completed within a week thanks to Career Connections, the state-of-the-art website that gives students access to more than 6,000 employers.
GCU’s online-learning efficiency made it possible to move ground classes to the virtual world with only spring break to prepare, and the transition was smooth for SEI as well.
SEI Executive Director Haley Fagerlie said an employer survey about virtual career fairs received 232 responses in less than five days, and more than 20 companies signed up for the virtual fairs in the first two days after they were notified. SEI Program Manager Aysha Bell said 18 companies have confirmed for April 14 and 29 for April 16.
There will be many more to come after this. A Government and Nonprofit virtual fair is scheduled for May 5, and Fagerlie said the plan is to set up more of them over the summer.
And what about next fall? Virtual career fairs are new to many employers, but this might be yet another way to connect students to them, even if the pandemic has subsided.
“We’re definitely open to it,” she said. “If it all works out the way we expect, I don’t see why we wouldn’t continue.”
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].