About 300 students and nearly 40 employers from across the country attended the 12th annual NTID Job Fair Wednesday.
Students, most wearing business attire, came armed with resumes and questions for prospective employers. Many of the employers, such as Luke Faxon-St. Georges, an account executive for Disney and ESPN, were graduates of RIT/NTID and remembered being on the other side of the table.
“I have five students in mind who I’d recommend for internships,” he said. “They really stood out.”
Last year, 49 RIT/NTID students got a co-op or permanent job as a result of connections made at the job fair. On average, more than 90 percent of RIT/NTID students seeking employment find a job within a year of graduation.
Ashleen Evans, an accounting major from Lebanon, Ind., hopes she’ll find a co-op in banking or finance next summer. This was her first job fair, and she handed one of her 25 printed resumes to recruiters from The Bank of NY Mellon.
“It doesn't matter where they are located,” she says. “I just want to get real-world learning experience.”
Kim Caruso, a recruiter from The Bank of NY Mellon, said this job fair stands out from others because personnel from NTID’s Center on Employment are very helpful in suggesting students who would be a good fit for them. “We rely on their recommendations for meaningful placements,” she says.
And Caruso is impressed that RIT/NTID students have more technological skills than students she talks with from liberal arts colleges.
Cutting-edge technology was evident even at the job fair. In a nearby room, students were lined up to interview with Cisco Systems. Shraddha Chaplot, a "greengineer" from Cisco was actually in California sitting next to an interpreter, and interviews were conducted in a Cisco TelePresence Center in NTID’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, which gave the impression everyone was in the same room.
Yuri Elt, an Information Technology major from Brewster, N.Y., asked about co-ops with Cisco, talked about his knowledge of the company and what skills he had that could meet their needs.
Elt handed out 17 other resumes during the fair. He got to meet several former RIT/NTID students who were back on campus to recruit for their companies.
“Seeing them gave me more confidence,” Elt said. “One of the employers from ESPN told me he was in my shoes 10 years ago and told me I could be as successful as he was.”
It was the first visit to NTID for Justin Zapol, principal recruiter for Orbital Sciences, of Dulles, Va. His company, which builds defense mechanisms and rockets that launch satellites, said he came “to broaden our reach. We’re trying to bring in the best and the brightest” and said several RIT graduates already work for the company. He said he’s seeking students for co-op positions at first to see if they are the right fit before offering permanent jobs.
“It’s been fantastic. We’ve meet some very qualified students,” said Paul DeSanctis, a senior manager for Orbital.
Zapol said he’s been to other colleges that have engineering students, but that, “Here at NTID, everyone is very open and communicative. It’s great.”
Prior to the actual job fair, a luncheon was held for participating employers. There, Outstanding Employer Partner awards were presented to employers who have sustained a record of hiring RIT/NTIDstudents for co-ops or in permanent jobs:
Joyce Bender, founder of Bender Consulter Services, which helps recruit employees with disabilities for companies in 19 states, said the students she’s recruited from RIT/NTID “are some of the very best employees I have had. People with disabilities don’t want pity. They want a paycheck.”
At the luncheon, NTID President Gerry Buckley said he came to RIT/NTID in 1974 as a student, when there was only one deaf lawyer in the country. Many careers weren’t considered options for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Today, there are more than 250 deaf lawyers in the country.
“Imagine if in 20 years that kind of progress happens all over the world?” Buckley said. “Thank you for helping us strive toward that goal.”
He asked the employers in attendance how many graduated from RIT/NTID. Dozens stood up.
“Your being here is evidence we’re being successful,” Buckley said. “We’re proud of you. You are changing the world. You’re changing attitudes every day. Our young people here look up to you and see themselves. You’re helping young people here have a vision of the future in a variety of professions.”