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MOJOE Career Fair

Job fair brings students and employers together 

Fourteen years ago, Columbia College hosted its first education career fair.  Now, the Missouri Job Opportunities in Education fair takes place at MU and involves 6 colleges, including University of Missouri, Columbia College, Central Methodist University, Hannibal La Grange College, Westminster College and William Woods University. Representatives from one hundred school districts attended this year’s fair on March 18 at the Hearnes Center.  

Michelle Bollinger, coordinator of Career and Program Services in the Mizzou College of Education, describes the event as a definitive success. 

“We’ve gotten great feedback about the preparation and professionalism of the students,” she says. “It’s a good opportunity for students interested in teaching and also for people wanting a career change.” 

Like the employers, students were impressed by the job fair.  Paul Kothe, a COE senior, says, “This is a very exciting time for me as Mizzou elementary education student who is graduating in May. Schools are chasing me — the best paying schools — instead of the other way around.”  

A Mixed Bag

 The attendees came from all parts of Missouri and the surrounding states as well as from Alaska, California, and Washington D.C.Based on last year’s numbers, Bollinger estimates that between 350 and 400 candidates visited the 2008 fair. The candidates, dressed in interview attire and with resumes in hand, chatted with potential employers during the event’s three-hour time span.    

Teaching students aren’t the only candidates who attended; counseling positions were also available for those interested in the field. Graduate schools, too, made an appearance in the hopes of attracting bright students from the colleges. 

 The meet-and-greet feel of MOJOE let employers conduct preliminary screenings and allowed students to get their names out there. Later in the year, COE students will have the chance to participate in career days in St. Louis and Kansas City and further develop the connections they made at the fair.  

The number of representatives who came this year was fewer than last year’s, but Bollinger attributes that change to a time conflict with another fair on the west side of the state.  She feels that next year’s event will have more attendees, and she hopes that Lincoln University will join as a sponsor.