By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Sam Reimers is just a sophomore at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, but he’s already planning his professional career.
The industrial distribution major wants to work in heavy equipment sales, so he’s looking to connect with companies that specialize in this area. He found plenty of them Thursday during the Career and Internship Fair on campus.
Hosted in the spring and fall by UNK Academic Advising and Career Development, the event gives students from all majors and grade levels a chance to network with employers from across the region while learning more about internship and job opportunities. A total of 140 businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and graduate and professional schools were represented, allowing Lopers to explore careers in accounting, agribusiness, construction, finance, health care, law enforcement, marketing and many other fields.
“With the job market right now, everybody is looking for talent. Employers come to this event because they know they’re going to find a large number of students who are ready to make those connections and prepared to contribute as team members,” said Emily Beaman, assistant director of UNK Academic Advising and Career Development.
Reimers was among the more than 500 students who attended the Career and Internship Fair, which filled the entire arena floor inside the Health and Sports Center. He called it an “extremely valuable” experience.
“There aren’t a lot of places where you can go and do something like this,” the Kearney native said. “You have a lot of great companies that do the things I’m interested in and are actively looking for people like me. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.”
Claire Cornell knows firsthand how important that relationship-building can be.
She completed an internship at GIX Logistics last summer and continued working for the Grand Island-based company during her final semester at UNK. When she graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing emphasis, she already had a full-time job lined up there.
“I really push internships because it’s such a great experience,” Cornell said. “You learn a lot, gain important communication and teamwork skills and meet new people. I think that’s really valuable.”
Cornell was back on campus as the recruiting and marketing manager for GIX, a third-party logistics company that assists customers with product shipment. Her goal was to promote internship opportunities and continue to strengthen the company’s partnership with UNK. Nearly 50% of their employees are former Lopers.
“We have the mindset that we’re always looking for new talent,” Cornell said.
Cameron Griffis, a seed technician at Bayer Crop Science in Kearney, used the same strategy. He talked about summer positions and production associate openings that can lead to advancement within the company.
“There are a ton of opportunities right now. If you’re willing to stick with the company and step forward and show some ambition, you can go plenty of places,” he said.
Like Cornell, the Cozad native attended UNK and started working part time for Bayer as a student. He transitioned to a full-time position after graduating in December 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution.
“I think the university does a great job of helping students move toward what life is like after college and getting a career started,” Griffis said. “I definitely felt like I had a lot of options.”
The statistics support this comment. In the College of Business and Technology, for instance, more than 90% of 2021-22 graduates landed a full-time job in their field of study or continued their education in graduate school. Many of these positions offer starting salaries at $50,000 or higher.
That’s not lost on Reimers, who completed a six-week summer experience last year with Faris Machinery in Denver.
“I worry about the future a lot, so going into a degree program with a 100% job placement rate because of things like career fairs and internships really gives me a sense of security,” he said.