Hundreds of students and community members attended the Ashford University annual career fair on Thursday that featured over 35 businesses. A variety of non-profit agencies and for profit businesses provided information to individuals seeking employment at information booths.

“The annual Ashford University Career Fair is a great way for Ashford students and community residents to explore full- and part-time job opportunities as well as network with local businesses,” said Lindsay Adolphs, one of Ashford’s career services coordinators.

 The job market is looking better for area residents since the Clinton County unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in February, according to data released by Iowa Workforce Development.  This decrease from 7.2 percent in January is consistent with a drop in Iowa’s overall unemployment rate, which fell to 5.3 percent in February.

“We are seeing change in the job market and now companies are vying for students,” Career Service Coordinator Susan Newman said. “Students have become very savvy because of the tough job market and now businesses are seeing their value.”

The city of Clinton’s unemployment rate also dropped to 6.9 percent, down from 7.5 percent in January.

This decrease in unemployment dropped Clinton to the eighth highest unemployment rate among cities in Iowa, a much better number than in the last few years.

Businesses and organizations from the Clinton, the Quad-Cities and beyond participated in the event. This offered a wide range of career and internship opportunities to accommodate many different interests and abilities. Positions featured were sales, direct care, retail, education, media, counseling along with several schools from surrounding areas. The fair gave students an opportunity to check out internships and jobs in their areas of study.

“Working here is a good way for people with a criminal justice degree to gain experience in their field,” said Patty Cassell, Consumer Services Director, Pathway Living Center.

Several companies offered positions for students or community members with busy schedules, offering flexible hours, like DM Services, Inc. The company already employs many students at Ashford. The goal is to provide many different opportunities for many different fields, according to Newman. Overall more companies participated in the fair allowing for more variety.

“There has been more interest and being a liberal arts college, we have been able to reach out to a wide variety of businesses,” Newman said. “I think businesses are seeing the benefits of participating in events like these and getting that face-to-face interaction versus doing everything by email.”

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