HOUGHTON - The fall Career Fair at Michigan Technological University is gearing up to be a big one, even with a month to go for companies to register.
Jim Turnquist, director of career services at Michigan Tech, said more than 230 companies have signed on to meet thousands of Tech students looking for internships or full-time employment.
"We're about 30 companies ahead of last year," Turnquist said. "It's looking to be a very productive Career Fair."
The fall Career Fair tends to be the larger of the two fairs held during each school year. However, with the poor economy during the last few years, as few as 100 companies made the trek to the Upper Peninsula to meet some of Tech's finest students.
The fall Career Fair, this year on Oct. 2, is when companies begin looking for students who are interested in cooperative agreements for the spring or full-time work after graduation in December or April.
"There's a huge demand right now for engineers and information technology people, so companies are getting more aggressive in trying to recruit those individuals," Turnquist said.
With 232 companies registered, and a few more weeks left to register, Turnquist said it's a good indication the job market is turning around. Tech still boasts a high placement rate, at 95 percent, and Turnquist said that number is expected to be consistent. Placement is determined by students who have secured a job, go on to graduate school or join the military. The placement rate for 2011 has yet to be determined.
"The unusual number this year is more students got jobs last year than the year before," he said. "That was a pleasant surprise."
Turnquist said it means fewer students went on to graduate school and went straight to the workforce. And this year, Turnquist said students will meet a diversification of companies in different fields.
"The variety is really something," he said.
Companies range from mining companies to power companies; the automotive industry always has a presence at the Career Fair.
"We're really getting a vast array of industries present on our campus," he said. "There usually are a lot of opportunities."
Along with bringing a handful of representatives for the companies who frequent the Copper Country for the majority of the week doing interviews, some companies bring cars, construction equipment, snowmobiles and boats to showcase. This year, companies have expressed special interest in bringing displays up sooner to showcase around campus, he said.
And although the Career Fair is a little later than previous years, Turnquist said the turnout by students will be monumental.
"All the companies get going and make connections," he said. "The whole week, there will be somewhere around 4,000 interviews for co-ops, internships and full-time (work)."