Arrival of fall marks start of recruiting season

Fall brings cool evenings and the igniting of nature’s festival of colors in the Keweenaw. It also brings a robust recruiting season as professionals from corporations across the nation descend on our small community. They are seeking the talented students that Michigan Tech and the surrounding community helps produce. But does this provide an opportunity for our community to recruit these guests to become part of the Copper Country strong community?

Michigan Tech’s Industry Days are celebrations of hands-on learning that occur under circus tents in the middle of campus. The automotive industry will be highlighted on Thursday, Sept. 6, when the first teams of recruiters hit campus, showcasing careers that will lead to the self-driving cars of the future. Each week of September a different set of recruiting teams will visit, leading up to the Super Bowl of recruiting, our Career Fair on Wednesday October 3. This event will host over 1,200 recruiters from over 330 companies so far. So where is the opportunity for our community?

This summer we experienced a horrible catastrophe with the Fathers Day flood. Our area transformed from being known for quiet beaches and stunning sunsets to visions of how the power of Mother Nature can damage a pristine landscape. Though summer brought heat, but the storm’s aftereffect would not let us go in the water to cool off.

We now have an opportunity to reset that altered vision of our community.

We expect to host over 2,000 company representatives from outside the area in the month of September and early October. Companies have waiting lists to get on recruiting teams to visit Michigan Tech and the Copper Country. Why? They come because of the welcoming community and the serenity that nature provides with its landscape. They come for the famous pasties, pickled eggs, tostada pizza and the indigenous beer, among others. Throw in a smile from those they meet on the street and a colorful sunset, and now you have stories filled with feelings of bliss that they seek to live over and over, but can only be replicated through another visit to the Keweenaw.

We have all experienced loss of some degree. Our tourism was hurt by the stories and photos of the devastation. But now is the time to return to a new normal. We have an opportunity to change that story back to one that reflects where we live, God’s Country. How do we do this?

I encourage each of you to make a special effort to smile at the strangers you meet. If they look lost, offer directions. If they seem confused in navigating the Yooper Loop, give them time to figure it out. If they ask about the storm, share the stories not of loss but of sisu, how our community responded unconditionally to help one another — stories of Copper Country strong. And when they check out of the hotels or pay their bills at the restaurants, thank them for coming and invite them back to this place that we call paradise to share its wonders and healing spirit.

We as a community have an opportunity to recruit more Copper Country followers. They support our tourism and support our community in challenging times, even from afat. They can also help us change the story of our area back to where it belongs, one involving beauty, community, relaxation, and renewal. Please join me in recruiting more followers of Copper Country strong.

Steve Patchin is director of Career Services for Michigan Technological University.

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