First job fair for service organizations only

The University of Washington Bothell co-hosted its first Service Organization Job Fair to connect nonprofit organizations with students interested in serving others.

Six service organizations

The Feb. 24 fair, hosted by UW Bothell Career Services and UW Tacoma Career Development & Education via the Handshake career platform, was open to students from all three UW campuses. Six nonprofit employers took part: Peace Corps, College Possible, United Way of King County, City Year, Teach for America and the Greater South Sound VISTA Team.

Susan Vinson
Susan Vinson

They offer paid jobs with commitments of one or two years. Not only is this an opportunity for people to serve the community, but workers also can explore an interest or fill a gap year with a meaningful experience before starting a business career or entering graduate school.

These organizations have participated in broader job fairs, but in a virtual environment they miss the foot traffic. This separate job fair put a spotlight on service organizations before the Spring Job Fair on April 20, said Susan Vinson, employer relations manager at UW Bothell Career Services. Students specifically interested in pursuing service work took part in 62 group and one-to-one sessions with employers.

“Our employer partners were happy to make connections with students who were really interested in their organizations,” Vinson said.

Working with City Year

Marcus Ramirez
Marcus Ramirez

The Service Organization Job Fair was “very successful” for Marcus Ramirez, the Seattle-based recruiter for City Year, who works with eight universities in the Northwest. Ramirez had one information session with 15 people, “a really good number,” and a few one-to-one sessions.

City Year is looking for people who will work full time for 11 months in elementary, middle or high schools. Usually paired with a teacher, the City Year staff offer students one-to-one support and after school programs. There are about 3,000 City Year workers placed each year at 51 schools in 29 cities.

Part of the AmeriCorps network, City Year appeals particularly to people interested in teaching but also to those who want to go into government or nonprofit work. “A lot of skills they learn are transferable to other jobs,” Ramirez said.

Pre-COVID-19, Ramirez would recruit at career fairs and workshops in person. UW Bothell Career Services is a supportive advocate, he said, noting he “feels a sense of community on campus.”

Now working by email, Zoom and Handshake, Ramirez said it is a good idea to have separate job fairs for students passionate about helping others. “I appreciate having those spaces specifically for service organizations and nonprofits.”

‘I like what they are doing’

Daniel Leung, a senior with a double major in Community Psychology and in Law, Economics & Public Policy, attended the fair at the recommendation of Career Services advisers who are helping him find a job before he graduates this summer. The fair aligned with what he wants to do in the future and provided experience in talking to recruiters, such as Ramirez.

“I connected with City Year because I like what they are doing in schools, helping and supporting children,” Leung said.

Longer term Leung said he would like to pursue a master’s degree in social work.

Spring Job Fair April 20

Normally, UW Bothell’s Tech & Engineering and All Industries fairs in the fall attract 80 organizations and hundreds of students to the Activities & Recreation Center. The Spring Fair would be another big event with about 50 organizations and crowds of students looking for jobs or internships.

As remote operations continue, the fair on April 20 will be virtual via Handshake. Eventually, however, in-person recruiting will return because companies want exposure to as many prospects as possible — and UW Bothell students want to look at a variety of opportunities.

But even then, Vinson said, a virtual fair for service organizations may continue because it’s a new way to reach a select audience of interested students.

Spring job fair banner

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