California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Social Work Students Seek Jobs at Fair

For the sixth year in a row, students came out dressed to impress the 78 agencies seeking interns and future employees at the CSU East Bay Department of Social Work’s Annual Field Fair.

The event took place Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the New Union.

“This is a great networking opportunity for students and social work agencies,” said Mavis Braxton, Interim Director of Field and coordinator of the Field Fair.

The event was open to first-year Master of Social Work students and also to second-year students, graduating this year.

The room was packed with agencies from many different counties, some of which included: Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara County.

Some of the agencies represented organizations from child welfare, foster care, adult protection and domestic violence, just to name a few.

“I am very excited,” said Ashleigh McDaniel, first-year Masters student. “It’s a good, diverse group of people and I am hoping to land an interview or placement for next year.”

Balloons were up, refreshments and pastries were being served and the agency representatives seemed welcoming of the students.

Many students were huddled at the front door at first, seemingly hesitant or nervous to get started.

That was until the founder of the Field Fair Terry Jones took the stage. He seemed to give the students a boost of confidence.

“Social work is only complete once you get that field work,” said Jones.

Jones started this annual fair six years ago, when he received a call informing him of a severe shortage of social workers in the area. He decided to form the fair, hoping it would be beneficial to the students and the agencies as well.

“I think the fair is very beneficial,” said Veronica Tovar, representative of Girls Incorporated of Alameda County. “With so many agencies here, it allows people to get a taste of everything.”

Tovar said that as an agency representative, the fair provides networking resources for their current clients, as well as their families.

Jones said that the turn out of students is great every year, but, because they had to cut back on the number of students they could accept into the Master’s program this year, there may be fewer students present.

“Although there might not be as many students this year, the need for work is as great as ever,” said Jones.

Jones said what a joy it is for him to see his students now working in the field.

Donna Williams and Michelle Nelson, two former CSUEB students, were at the fair running the table for the Oakland Community Support Center. Williams and Nelson graduated from CSUEB in 2007.

“We graduated on a Sunday and started work on Tuesday,” said Nelson. “It was amazing.”

Both girls found their employment through the Field Fair four years ago, and both have been with the same organization ever since.

“The fair assists agencies in picking interns for their programs directly,” said Williams. “It allows us to interact with students face-to-face and this makes it easier for us to find perfect internship match ups for them.”

Williams and Nelson started as base level social workers, have since been promoted to team leaders, and are in the process of obtaining their social worker’s license.

As the event progressed, more students started coming and the networking continued to heighten.

“I made contacts already and I got to meet a few employers that I have been emailing recently,” said Valesia Ho, first-year Master’s student. “Being able to talk to these agencies face-to-face is a nice change, since nowadays everything is done via email.”

Over 100 people were still in the multi-purpose room well past 12 p.m.

“It’s wonderful because it gives the students an opportunity to meet all these agencies at one time, versus driving all around town meeting one at a time,” said Braxton. “In this case, we bring the community to the students, we bring the jobs to them.”

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Social Work Students Seek Jobs at Fair