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UAPB helping get jobs for graduates

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - Paving the way for Arkansas college students to find jobs: It's the primary mission for university career centers and one picking up steam right now in Pine Bluff.

With the school year under way right now at most Arkansas colleges and universities, seniors have more than just that diploma on their mind. They're also juggling a job hunt in this still shaky economy.

But at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the year brings some new opportunity to ease that transition into the real world.

"What I need you to do is submit me a copy of what you have," says career counselor Tracy Knowlton.

Knowlton works with UAPB senior Avery Wheeler on a task, consuming his life right now.

"It's something that I'm thinking about all the time. I've been talking to all my teachers, trying to talk with potential employers," Wheeler said.

He's on the job hunt, to put his Industrial Technology major to work. His latest lead came Wednesday: a call from a U.S. Army Arsenal in Illinois.

"I talked to my boss today (Wednesday) and she was like if any job opportunities come open they will pretty much keep me informed," Wheeler said.

Wheeler took part in a Cooperative Education Program, allowing UAPB students to take a break from campus and work full-time "in their major" for six months. Knowlton helps run those programs, along with internships, growing now with a new partnership with the Nucor Yamato Steel Company in Blytheville.

"Every year they are committed to placing at least two students from UAPB," Knowlton said. "If upon completion of that program there is a permanent placement those students will have first choice at that job."

Knowlton says UAPB already works with companies like Verizon and Kellogg's, and expects more to come.

"We have had a lot of companies that have reached out to us during the summer just for the fact of wanting to diversify their organizations," Knowlton said.

It's a corporate radar on UAPB, giving promise to students like Wheeler.

One more program to add here, in about two weeks, five UAPB accounting students will travel to St. Louis for a major networking event there called InSight St. Louis. And Knowlton says company interviews will be part of the experience.

We also checked in with UALR. A spokeswoman says students work with many area companies both full and part-time during the school year and summer. They get experience in fields ranging from marketing to Information Technology.  


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