The third annual Work It! career networking event, held last Friday at the EWU Cheney campus exceeded all expectations, attracting a record number of student attendees and a vibrant core of presenters and professional partners.
This year’s event was the first of the three to be held in Cheney. Previous Work It! events were held in Spokane to try to attract alumni and general public attendees. This year, EWU Career Services made the decision to focus more on student attendance, and the turnout for the event seems to have validated their decision.
According to Romeal Watson, the coordinator of EWU’s internship program, last week’s event attracted more than 225 students. He projected attendance to be in the 100-125 range in the days leading up to the event, and was pleasantly surprised by the amount actual attendance exceeded that.
“To get over 225 students after we figured we were going to get 100-125 was, for us, absolutely fantastic,” Watson said.
Watson said the highlight of the event was the success of the breakout sessions, which were packed with students seeking career advice from Eastern’s professional partners.
“I think the highlight was the sessions – I had a hunch, when we put them together, that the presenters would be able to interact and feed off each other, and that’s what happened,” Watson said. “We had good energy in the sessions and we got good feedback from the students about the sessions.”
Gini Hinch, the director of Career Services, said she was very happy with the way their event partnership with the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Social Work gelled. She said because the offerings from that college are so diverse, it made the sessions and presentations very interesting because the jobs out there for graduates in those fields are so diverse.
“With a lot of the behavioral sciences, the career paths aren’t as direct as, let’s say, accounting or business, so the students got to see a larger range of options,” Hinch said. “I think that the students found out that there are even more career options than they realize.”
Jeff Stafford, the associate dean of CSBSSW, said he felt the event was a big success and was very happy with how the partnership worked out.
Stafford delivered the kick-off message at the event, telling the attendees that today’s job market demands that each job seeker find a way to differentiate themselves from the pack, and that making the effort to attend Work It! was a good step in that direction.
Stafford said he was very pleased with the event attendance and that CSBSSW has interest in participating in Work It! again in the future.
“It’s a growing event and I think it will only continue to grow,” he added.