College continuing to go above and beyond for students

Published 4:50 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

The confines of the Fred L. Mathews Conference Center were packed to the brim with employers and job seekers Thursday, as Southwestern Michigan College hosted its second annual Internship and Career Fair.

Nearly 60 companies and agencies, ranging from local operations like Judd Lumber or Midwest Energy to federal organizations like the U.S. Secret Service or Border Patrol, had representatives at the fair. Both SMC students and the community at large was invited to come, with visitors getting a chance to meet with employers face-to-face, in hopes of learning more about the opportunities in today’s growing job market — or even earning a future career for themselves.

While only in its infancy, SMC’s career fair seems to be off to a roaring start. Following last year’s successful event, most of the 40 vendors participating last year returned, with new 20 ones participating as well. One of the organizers of this year’s fair, Stacy Horner, indicated this year’s event barely fit into a single wing of the conference center, and will likely have to expand to both sides of the building next year.

As the job market continues to bounce back from the doldrums it experienced nearly a decade ago, employers have to work harder and harder to reach out to prospective employees — and it is great to see SMC take advantage of this with its job fair.

By placing so many different opportunities in front of students in a single location, it is easier than ever for them to find out the information they need to chart their post-college futures. Many of the employers present at Thursday’s job fair were seeking applicants with a vast variety of skills and education, most of which are taught in one form or another at the local community college.

So, while a student may have initially figured their degree would have railroaded them into only a select few careers, they could have walked away from the fair Thursday with a new perspective on the many different doors their education really will open for them after graduation.

It’s also great to see SMC continue to find new ways to serve its students. It would be easy for the community college to just offer basic academics and let its students figure out the rest on their own — but instead SMC staff choose to give students the same kind of opportunities they would typically only find at larger universities or private colleges.

“No matter how good a job we do teaching, if our students don’t find jobs after they graduate we haven’t helped them,” Horner said in an article that ran in the Dowagiac Daily News about the fair.

It’s good to see that local educators still are focused on ensuring that their students don’t just succeed in the classroom, but are able to establish a clear path for their future after they leave the college as well.

We hope that the college’s career fair continues to grow in the future, and that even more people are able to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities it can provide.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.