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FHSU’s Applied Technology career fair expands its impact – Fort Hays State University

September 18, 2023

By University Communications
HAYS, Kan. – The Applied Technology Career Day, now in its eighth year, brought a record number of 67 companies to campus to meet, discuss career opportunities, and interview applied technology students. A special addition to this year’s career fair was the participation of students from FHSU’s affiliation initiative partners NCK Tech and Northwest Tech.
FHSU’s strategic affiliation initiative with NCK Tech and Northwest Tech, announced last January, was launched to forge strong connections between the three institutions, their students, and the communities and businesses of western Kansas. Participation in the career fair enabled faculty and staff to develop new synergies and explore opportunities for collaboration.
“I think students from the affiliation schools are enjoying the day,” said Kim Stewart, FHSU’s Department of Applied Technology chair. “What I’m hoping is that they not only find some internships or full-time employment, but maybe we can entice them to see the other opportunities at Fort Hays as well.”
Mike Zimmerman, engineering technology instructor for Northwest Tech, saw many of those same advantages to bringing students, nine from engineering and six from construction technology, to the career fair. He said the fair served a dual purpose: finding pathways to jobs and internships and learning more about the opportunities FHSU can provide for bachelor’s degrees leading to mid-level management and higher.
“Fort Hays has different capabilities than we have, and we have different capabilities than Fort Hays,” Zimmerman said. “This gives us a chance to partner up. If there’s something we can help them with, we are glad to do it.”
For Lucas Ward, Fort Collins, Colo., and Elijah Mills, Haigler, Neb., both civil engineering majors from NW Tech, the opportunity to meet potential employers was a motivating factor in coming to the career fair.
“I’m looking at this from an ag background,” Mills said. “There are a lot of companies here that tie into my career path. It’s nice to explore the different possibilities with mechanical companies, integration with implements, and areas like that.”
Eric Denault, associate professor of applied technology, said the successful placement of FHSU graduates could be attributed to activities such as the career fair. FHSU’s applied technology department boasts a 98 percent job placement rate.
“These companies are looking for students as young as freshmen with little to no experience,” he said. “We have a lot of repeat interns. Some students will do internships their junior year, sign a letter of intent, return to complete their senior year, then graduate and work for that company.”
Stewart said he looks forward to the career fair, which he has seen grow over its eight-year history, as a highly rewarding event each year.
“It’s good when we can get students connected to so many businesses,” he said. “These companies are looking for hard-working young men and women. It’s a fun day when we get everybody in the same place, let them talk together, and make connections. This is what it’s all about.”
University Communications
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Hays, KS 67601
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Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Hays, KS 67601-4099
785-628-FHSU (3478)


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