Government & Non-Profit Career Fair Draws Aspiring Engineers

Jaclyn Wiley/News Editor

On Thursday, Feb. 11, potential employers flocked to the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach campus for the second annual Government Agency and Non-Profit Career Fair. This event was hosted by Career Services and was a resounding success, with over thirty agencies and non-profits in attendance.

Employer registration for this event began Oct. 8, 2015, the day after the Industry/Career Expo, which was also highly successful. Many of the agencies and nonprofits in attendance at the Government Agency & Non-Profit Career Fair were searching for students with specific majors, especially engineering majors.

Pam Underwood, Deputy Division Manager for the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation Operations Integration Division, said, “The majors that are important to us right now are largely engineers. So we have about 15-20 positions we are looking to fill, because with our budget that we just received in December, we were given a little bit more money to hire more people… however, this doesn’t mean we won’t be hiring non-engineers, which is… more of a good suit for the Commercial Space Operations students.” The Commercial Space Operations major is unique to Embry-Riddle, and currently has over 100 students enrolled.

When asked about if having a degree from Embry-Riddle is a plus, or not, in her office, Underwood replied, “[The ERAU engineering program] is absolutely world-renowned. We absolutely get good candidates from Embry-Riddle, that’s for sure, because you guys have a good, hands-on design program… Any organization, like Embry-Riddle, that takes the time to put those kinds of components into degree programs definitely is a benefit to employers, such as my office.” Another factor Underwood identified that contributed to the desirability of Embry-Riddle students was the, “familiarity with the industry that oftentimes students from other schools may not have, other than what might just be in the press.”

careerfair

Another Office of the FAA was present at this event, the FAA Office of NextGen, which deals with planning and creating the Next Generation Air Transportation System, was also seeking Embry-Riddle students. “In particular, our branch is looking for engineers and operations research analysts, who are people with statistics and calculus backgrounds,” said Dr. Donna Creasap, a NextGen Performance Based Navigation Portfolio Manager. “We have hired Embry-Riddle students before, and we found them highly qualified and highly competent in their work, and that’s why we’re back at this fair.” She suggests to students interested in working with the FAA to, “take advantage of looking at our website. Dig deep, because there’s some really great information in there, and find specifically where your area of interest is so that you can find where in the FAA you would be best suited.”

The FAA hiring process, like all other federal jobs, is centered through the USAJobs website. The representatives of the federal agencies were not allowed to hire on the spot, but rather direct interested parties to the USAJobs website. William Ulrich, with the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, in Melbourne, Florida, said, “Though I can talk with people and recommend that, ‘Hey, this is what you should look out for future job opportunities and what you should think about when you’re doing your resume, I can’t accept resumes on my office’s behalf, simply because you have to go through the USAJobs portal… But USAJobs is where kids and recent graduates need to go.”

Most non-federal government agencies, like the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) or the Volusia County Corrections Service, do not hire through USAJobs, but rather their own systems. Amy Sermons, a representative from the FDOT, said, “USAJobs is for federal agency jobs, the state of Florida uses People First… we also have a website where people can apply for our internships.” When asked about major program preference in their hiring practices, Sermon replied, “It really depends, every semester is different for what we’re looking for. Could be anywhere from an engineering degree or engineering background, to management, to finance or environmental studies students.”

Before the Government Agency & Non-Profit Career Fair, Career Services offered many services to help ERAU students to prepare. These services, which were offered at multiple venues over the course of the last few months, included resume and cover letter critiques, and interview and elevator speech practice sessions. These services are still available by appointment or walk-in at the Career Services Office. Information about Career Services and the services it provides are available on their website, http://careerservices.erau.edu.