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July 28, 2004

Purdue's high-tech job fair puts another plug in brain drain

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - This autumn more than 1,200 Purdue University students hope to find themselves in the same position as Purdue alumnus Tyler Back, a mechanical engineering graduate from South Bend, Ind. Back found full-time employment last year with Best Access Systems of Indianapolis at Purdue's High Tech Job Fair for Indiana Companies.

Tyler Back
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At the seventh annual fair, which will take place Wednesday, Oct 27, Purdue's Technical Assistance Program will again match students with prospective degrees in technology, science, engineering, management and agriculture to Indiana companies with high-tech job openings. More than 60 companies from throughout Indiana are expected to attend the event, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union ballrooms.

Cindy Miner, Best Access Systems' human resources manager, said students do an impressive job of researching the companies whose representatives they plan to approach.

"There was a large turnout of very qualified, prepared students," Miner said. "I was impressed with how professional the students' resumes were and how prepared the students were to answer questions."

Back, who is designing a heavy duty, top-of-the-line lock for Best Access Systems, said he found the job of his dreams at the fair.

"I was graduating in December and had done a lot of interviews, but nothing had struck my fancy," Back said. "So I attended the fair, went up to this company and specified what I could offer and was looking for. It was exactly what I wanted to do."

Technical Assistance Program director David McKinnis says the fair is one of several ways Purdue helps highly skilled graduates find good paying jobs in Indiana.

"The high-tech programs from which Purdue students are graduating consistently rank at the top," McKinnis said. "We want to help Indiana employers reverse the brain drain by providing direct access to our highly skilled graduates."

The fair, sponsored by the Purdue schools of Agriculture, Management, Science, Technology and the College of Engineering, and Purdue's Center for Career Opportunities, is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all Purdue campuses. Company representatives will screen candidates during the fair, then interview selected students from 4-8 p.m.

Companies represented include computer software, e-commerce, computer consulting, manufacturing, insurance, health care and accounting firms. McKinnis said current high-tech needs also make the job fair ideal for small businesses, as well as state and city government units, architecture and law firms.

"We'll have candidates for a wide variety of technical related fields," McKinnis said. "The fair will attract students from engineering, business, computer integrated manufacturing, computer graphics, electrical engineering technology, along with chemists and biologists. I can't think of a high-tech job we wouldn't be able to fill."

Participation in the High-Tech Job Fair for Indiana Companies is open to all companies that register through the Web site, or by phone at (765) 494-6258. The job fair will include an information session with recruiting tips for high-tech businesses from 9:30-10:15 a.m.

On Thursday, Oct. 28, employers can interview students for full-time positions and summer internships at the Stewart Center, adjacent to the Purdue Memorial Union. Another option for employers and students is Purdue's Cooperative Education Program, through which students spend a total of 18 months working at a company between the end of their freshman year and the beginning of their senior year.

Established in 1986, the Technical Assistance Program's mission is to help business, industry and government use new technologies to benefit the citizens of Indiana and improve the state economy. Purdue faculty, staff and students have worked with more than 4,500 companies to date. Their efforts have saved more than 4,000 jobs and accounted for almost $300 million in increased sales.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: David McKinnis, (765) 494-6258,

Cindy Miner, (317) 849-2250,

Tyler Back, (317) 849-2250,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Tyler Back, who graduated from Purdue University in December with a degree in mechanical engineering, works on the heavy-duty lock he is designing for Best Access Systems in Indianapolis. Back found employment through Purdue's High Tech Job Fair for Indiana Companies, which is facilitated by Purdue's Technical Assistance Program. The seventh annual event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Purdue Memorial Union ballrooms. More than 1,200 students are expected to attend this year's fair. (Purdue Photo/John Underwood)

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