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Different Format, Same Results

Pam Lechner

For decades, FEF’s College Industry Conference (CIC) has been held in November in Chicago. This conference is the highlight of a metalcasting student’s educational process, leading to hundreds of students entering this industry as a result of a CIC job offer. The format of the conference has been relatively consistent since its inception … until 2020.

Due to obvious events and conditions across North America, the format of the 2020 CIC needed to be modified, but the concept and mission had to remain the same. Students looking for full-time employment or internship positions still needed to be made aware of those opportunities. Companies anticipating upcoming retirements and increased business levels in 2021 still needed to network and interview candidates.

On November 17, the 2020 FEF Fall Virtual CIC was held. Although this form of career fair was a first for both the students and the industry representatives, everyone adjusted and made many good contacts.

Using the Career Fair Plus platform, 155 students representing 28 FEF certified and affiliated schools were able to make appointments with 62 industry personnel representing 22 companies. For three hours, recruiters met with delegates talking about the available jobs at their companies and how each delegate might fit in with their company’s plans for the future. 

One company rep commented, “We really enjoyed the Virtual CIC conference this year; it was valuable for us to meet and network with over 75 FEF students. We found the virtual fair to be very efficient and allowed for one-on-one time with the student and employer.” And thankfully, there were no technology glitches to overcome!

Additionally, prior to the career fair, scholarships totaling $58,000 were presented to 24 CIC delegates. Over 120 individuals attended this Zoom event, including students, professors, FEF Board Members and scholarship presenters. We appreciate the donors who provide funding for these scholarships each year and thank those who were able to join us for this year’s scholarship presentation event.

We would also like to thank those companies who participated this fall as CIC partners: General Kinematics, General Motors, Grede, Larpen Metallurgical Service, MAGMA Foundry Technologies, and Sinto.

Although some things changed in 2020, some things remained the same: the metalcasting industry needs employees for the future, students are receiving valuable education related to the metalcasting industry, and employers and students need a venue for networking with each other. 2020 offered both challenges and solutions; the FEF Board and staff thank you, the metalcasting industry, for the part you played in the solution process.

If your company is looking for your next invaluable employee, FEF’s network of colleges and universities is the best place to start. And talking to the CIC delegates is starting with the best of the best. If you are interested in making sure you receive information for the next CIC, please email pam@fefinc.org.