Made Here: Connecticut Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Career Fair offers opportunities
April 12, 2023
April 12, 2023
This unique event, the only career fair of its kind in the state, was co-sponsored by the School of Computing and Engineering, Connecticut Career Consortium, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT), Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce.
The fair drew 95 Connecticut-based organizations and hundreds of students from universities and colleges throughout the state.
“No other university opens their doors like we do,” said John Bau, director of career development for the School of Computing and Engineering. “We got a grant from the state Manufacturing Innovation Fund to hold this event. In addition to supporting the set-up and facilitating the space, we also have money from this grant to bring in students from six other campuses. We’re providing transportation to bring those students here.”
Partnering with Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce helped surrounding community members connect with potential employers, said Lynn Byers, director of the Mechanical Engineering Program at the School of Computing and Engineering.
“These employers are looking for all sorts of employees — apprentices, full-time employees and interns for internships,” said Byers.
Last year, when 300 attendees thronged the first career fair in the M&T Bank Arena, many School of Computing and Engineering undergraduates made meaningful connections.
“Anecdotally, almost every student I spoke with got at least one interview out of there. As I’ve told our students, this is a target-rich environment. These are hungry employers,” said Bau, also president of Connecticut Career Consortium, a statewide association of career services professionals.
Lex Asfalg, ’25, brought copies of his resume on the hunt for a civil engineering internship fit.
“I’m more of a hands-on person, so definitely I want something where I can be on the site rather than sitting in the office,” said Asfalg. “There’s a lot of opportunity here for careers and internships, and even just networking overall. It’s a great opportunity for most engineering students.”
The fair brought several companies seeking tech-savvy interns, including Hartford HealthCare, an exciting new university partner, said Bau.
“Hartford HeathCare is here today, and they are looking to staff up their first, big, structured technical internship program,” said Bau.
Matching employers with interns is the goal of CCAT’s internship program, which works to connect students with employers at small-to-medium-sized Connecticut businesses.
“They are amazing businesses for students to have experiences at, because you can go in and work on a project, and you can be working with the CEO or the CFO,” said Eileen Candles, CCAT Director of Partnerships. “So you’re working with everyone; as opposed to being in the much larger operations, where sometimes you have a very siloed internship experience.”
Small-to-medium-size companies are also fundamental to the state’s thriving manufacturing base, said Mark Auletta, COO of Bauer Inc. in Bristol.
“There are the big companies like Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky, and Electric Boat; but there are 4,500 suppliers like us -- the 50-to-100-person companies that supply those big companies, and then some. We’re really the core of manufacturing here in Connecticut,” said Auletta.
Auletta is also president of ManufactureCT, a trade association with 250 member companies, of which about 175 are manufactures.
For companies such as Bauer, participating in this fair brings a wealth of motivated students to the table, said Auletta.
“It’s great because it’s one-stop-shopping for us. We set up a booth here for the day, and we get to meet a hundred students; and next thing you know, they’re coming to Bauer for a tour, for an interview, and, if it’s a match, we bring them on for the summer. Best case scenario is we’ve brought them on as summer interns, they’ll spend a year or two with us, and if it’s a good fit, we’ll bring them on to our staff full-time.”
Auletta said Bauer values students from the School of Computing and Engineering.
“Quinnipiac has a great hands-on engineering program. It’s very practical. The theory and the textbook is one part of it; but they do a lot more, like their Baja racing program. It’s students who want to see how things work, and that’s a slam-dunk for Bauer. We’re looking for that, we’re looking for ambition, and we’re looking for people who want a challenge. Said Auletta
Our company in Bristol designs and manufactures complex test equipment for aerospace. It’s complicated stuff. If someone is looking for a challenge, it’s a great match,” said Auletta.
The potential to match up for an internship or job connection drew Justin Goodwin, ’24, Andrew O’Keefe, ’24, and Lucas Morello, ’24, to the career fair. Each is pursuing a mechanical engineering career.
“It’s junior year. You have to get internships at this point, and this is a good place to do it,” said O’Keefe. “There are so many people here, and so many opportunities. I’m visiting as many as I can that offer mechanical engineering jobs.”
Although Goodwin and Morello have internship offers, they came to the fair to develop more connections. Morello sought part-time work for the fall. Goodwin said it was a chance to meet representatives from the company offering his internship; and to learn more about Connecticut’s high number of mechanical engineering career options in one place.
With her summer design internship in Seattle, Washington, already locked in, Grace Davis, ’24, came to the fair seeking part-time civil engineering job options for next year; and full-time opportunities following graduation.
“I’m from Vermont, but I am looking at opportunities in Connecticut,” said Davis. “There’s a good variety of Connecticut companies here with either environmental or structural opportunities. I’m still figuring out which one I’m interested in, so it’s really nice to have that variety.”
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