Building Life-Changing Connections for U of A Students and the Workforce

In the spring semester, the university hosted 10 fairs and one mixer, with more than 2,800 students and 650 companies and organizations participating.
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In the spring semester, the university hosted 10 fairs and one mixer, with more than 2,800 students and 650 companies and organizations participating.

Walk around the U of A campus in springtime and the energy is undeniable. More than 30,000 students are home on The Hill - pursuing their higher education, discovering their calling and forging relationships that will last a lifetime. 

By the time their names are etched on Senior Walk, these students will launch productive, meaningful careers in business, government, science, education and the arts. It’s part of the U of A experience that sometimes gets overshadowed by big wins at Baum-Walker Stadium and the spectacle of Commencement, but it might be the most important. 

One of the first steps U of A students take towards joining the workforce is participating in the many career fairs offered across campus. In the spring semester, the university hosted 10 fairs and one mixer, with more than 2,800 students and 650 companies and organizations participating. Students and recruiters praised the experience.

“The most beneficial part of the fairs to me was making connections and networking with companies and being able to practice my communication skills,” said Winston Boston, a sophomore majoring in data science with a concentration in business analytics who attended both the Business Career Fair and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Fair. “I was surprised by how easy the recruiters were to talk to. Many of them were recent alumni, so close to my age. I was also surprised by how many companies were there recruiting students.”

“My overall impression was these students are EAGER and prepped!” said Chelta Wray, intern program specialist for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary. “I was pleased with the students I interacted with and thought they asked great questions. It is so refreshing to meet students asking questions to ensure the prospective company will be a good fit. In this day and age, I encourage it.”

The Offices of Career Connections organize the fairs and help the students get prepared ahead of time. 

“I really liked that I was able to look up who would be at the fair prior to going,” said Lindsey Friday, a junior majoring in childhood education. “It made it easier to figure out who I wanted to talk with the most. It also helped me to better prepare and formulate my questions before meeting with the recruiters.”

Making these good impressions is leading to great jobs. Of the 4,500 Class of 2022 graduates who reported their career outcomes, nearly two-thirds entered the workforce, while another 20% went on to graduate school. Forty-six percent of the students going into the workforce after graduation stayed in Arkansas to begin their careers, with 63% of Arkansas students and 23% of out-of-state students staying in Arkansas for jobs. 

U of A grads are making a great impression once they’re employed, too.

“I have U of A graduates that I work with currently at our Rogers office, and they are amazing!” said McKenzie Meehan, Business Category Lead – Walmart Frozen Pizza at General Mills. “Our U of A grads have strong technical and leadership skills that add to the performance and culture of our office. I also work with current U of A students, and I am always impressed at the experiences and drive they have at such a young age.”

It's clear that through the great work they do and the innovations they generate, our graduates have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the state of Arkansas and beyond, and they will drive our future success for decades to come.

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