Regional industry leaders and Ranken students network at annual career fair
St. Louis—“We need young, qualified technicians and support staff.” That was the consensus among the 50-plus employers from the automotive industry, who recently attended Ranken Technical College’s career fair in October.
Fixed Operations Manager Derek Christian and Service Manager Andy Stumm of the Lou Fusz Automotive Network attended the event for the second straight year. “We are looking for young, aspiring technicians and body shop personnel. Ranken has done very well at preparing these students for the real world,” Christian said.
Rich Oppits, store manager of Telle Tire and Auto Centers in St. Louis, and Philip Butler, general manager of the Fenton, Mo., store, had a table set up at the event as they continue to search for young qualified personnel. “We want these younger techs to know that they are more than just a number. We want to help them become successful just as much as they do,” Oppits said.
All automotive technology students, as well as those enrolled in other campus programs, were given the opportunity to talk with potential employers and drop off resumes, and were encouraged to ask questions regarding employment qualifications. Overall there were more than 700 students in attendance.
The opportunities presented in the automotive industry room were not just geared toward technicians, as there were many other options for students.
Mary Disney, a recruiter from Hunter Engineering, let students know of other careers they have to offer such as plant operations, engineering positions, and sales staff opportunities. “This is my first time here and I am looking forward to building relationships with Ranken students, as they do very well in educating these students,” she said.
NAPA human resources representative Makisa Upton was also in attendance. “This is my second year here. We want to let students who may not want to continue as technicians know that they can still be involved in the industry by representing the aftermarket parts side of things. We offer many different positions from delivery driver, IT department jobs, and even leadership position opportunities.”
Other potential employers in the automotive room included fleet service companies, city department representatives, parts store managers, and automotive tool and equipment leaders.
Ranken Career Services Director Janie Summers said she was thrilled with the turnout. “We thought it went very well and look forward to this event every year. The student feedback has been very positive overall. Not only were some students hired right on the spot, but some of the 1st year students have already received interviews for Internships.”