The MTU Career Fair returns to Keweenaw

Recruiters from more than 350 companies travel to Michigan Technological University’s careers fair this week — a resumption of an in-person event filling local restaurants and hotels, as well as vacancies at their companies.

The career fair will be held on Wednesday, September 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex. Hundreds of follow-up interviews will take place on campus the next day and virtually afterwards. The event is a major contributor to the average job placement rate of 93% within six months of graduation. There are no stats on how many meals and memories are shared, but it’s safe to say that lodging and dining establishments are rolling out the welcome mat for new and returning visitors.

In early September, hotels and most other lodgings were almost fully booked within two hours of the university, said Cody Kangas, executive director of corporate and foundation relations and acting director of Michigan Tech Career Services.

Career Services works year-round to help students find co-ops, internships, and full-time jobs, and offers programs for both huskies and companies. Students are offered one-on-one training in essential skills. At Tech’s biennial Career Fair, held each fall and spring, these practice sessions, resume building sessions and industry outreach culminate in one of the largest events of its kind in the United States.

It’s been two years since students trekked up MacInnes Drive to the Student Development Complex to shake hands with their brightest future.

“The demand is unprecedented. Employers want to be here — they’re ready to come back,” Kangas said.

Michigan Tech President Rick Koubek said the response reflects Michigan Tech’s excellence in building partnerships and preparing students for the workforce.

“A degree from Michigan Tech is highly valued in the marketplace, as evidenced by the large number of employers attending the university’s career fair this year,” he said. “It’s this level of corporate engagement that helps differentiate the student experience at Michigan Tech. It’s one of the many reasons we’re excited to welcome employers back to campus this week.”


average number of companies recruiting on campus each year


Recruiters looking to hire huskies at semi-annual fairs


average placement rate within six months of completion

Tech events have a regional impact

The most recent study of Michigan Tech’s impact on the state and local economy was in 2016. It didn’t account for visitor spend, but did consider a new online visitor data dashboard developed by the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau (KCVB). KCVB executive director Brad Barnett said it was interesting to compare the numbers for the in-person career fair period to the last two years. Statistics are only available for the last three years and are updated approximately every three months. In the meantime, the qualitative data are clearly positive.

“We look forward to the return of the Tech’s Career Fair as it attracts visitors from across the country looking to recruit our talented MTU students!”Brad Barnett, General Manager, Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau

“Many recruiters are tech alumni, so the Career Fair gives them a chance to return to Houghton to visit their favorite local restaurants and reminisce about the days on campus,” Barnett said. “I know downtown businesses are happy to see the return of in-person recruitment along with other university events.”

MTU Huskies getting ready for employment

For recruiters, it’s a welcome trip to campus. For many students it is a new opportunity to get to know employers personally. Most current Huskies have only experienced the virtual version of the Career Fair for the past two years, a pandemic necessity. “For the vast majority of students attending the Career Fair this week, it’s their first time attending in person,” Kangas said. “The virtual fairs filled a crucial need at a very stressful time, but the importance of being able to meet potential employers in person cannot be overstated. It enables connections and conversations that are sometimes not possible online.”

Katie Peterson helps students with their resumes during a coaching session at Michigan Tech Career Services.

Senior Environmental Engineering student Katie Peterson has experienced both event formats. Face to face wins hands down. “When I was a freshman, I went to the fall career fair,” she said. “A lot of people have encouraged people to go just to see what it’s about. I spoke to DTE; the mediator was really nice. The next day I was invited to a breakfast to learn more about the company.”

“It’s going to be really exciting to have that personal experience again.”Katie Peterson, 23 years old, Environmental Engineering student

Making a first impression via video was more difficult, Peterson said. “A physical presence makes a big difference.”

Peterson is one of Tech’s career coaches and works with fellow students to help them land co-ops, internships and full-time jobs. In the days leading up to the career fair, she and other coaches help students polish their resume and interview skills. “A little guidance is enough,” she says. “I’m glad we’re here to help.”

Students in suits, gowns and other business attire line up at the Michigan Tech for Career Fair student development complex.
Career Fair 2019 included many of the essential content and features Huskies can expect this year, from connecting with companies they are most interested in to a mobile app (Career Fair Plus) to a special appearance of the Huskies Pep Band.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Michigan’s flagship technology university, consistently ranked among the top universities in the country for return on investment, offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate programs in science and technology, engineering, computer science, forestry, business and economics, health care professions, liberal arts, mathematics and social studies sciences, and the arts. Located just a few miles from Lake Superior on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the rural campus offers year-round outdoor adventure opportunities.

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