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WIU connects businesses with job-seeking students at Employer Town Hall

Five schools hosted panels at Western Illinois University's Quad Cities campus to help businesses better attract students to open job positions.

MOLINE, Ill. — Colleges in the Quad Cities are helping students find a job by talking to employers. Western Illinois University hosted an Employer Town Hall on Thursday morning, Aug. 4 at its Quad Cities campus.

During the free event, local businesses got the opportunity to learn about trends in the hiring process and how to better appeal to students looking for work. Panels included students and career experts from various colleges in the area.

One of the experts was Augustana College Executive Director of Career and Professional Development Laura Kestner-Ricketts. 

"Today is really about hearing from the employers - what are the things that they're looking for," Kestner-Ricketts said, "and also sharing with them how the students and their outlook in the job search have really changed ... This is an opportunity for us to connect, learn from each other, and move forward to again connect students with employment opportunities." 

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One topic at the meeting was flexibility and work-life balance. Experts said that students tend to value these even over higher pay. 

"We have a lot of medium to small employers that are also looking for students," Kestner-Ricketts said. "If you're looking for work-life balance, a community, a culture, often it's really essential that students really pay attention to the smaller and medium-sized companies."

Another topic was job posting services, such as Handshake; how area colleges and students are using them; and how employers can best connect with potential hires through the platforms.

College staff said they're interested in hosting similar events every few months with different focuses like internships and hiring international students.

Kester-Ricketts said these events would be in addition to their usual career events for students, such as the Quad Cities Career Fair.

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