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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Passport to Employment to allow students to explore a world of opportunity

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 8, 2004 -- Many students dream about traveling the world. Now the University of Rhode Island Career Services department is helping students go places through its Passport to Employment series.

The program builds to the largest career fair in URI's history, the Passport to Employment Job Fair in the Ryan Center on April 24, which will be free and open to students, alumni and the general public.

"The series is designed to create helpful stops to ease the problems often encountered on the way to job search success," said Bobbi Koppel, director of Career Services. "Just like travelers, students' employment destinations may be unclear, or they may change, as often happens when students experience internships that lead them in a new direction. We are helping students find out how to get where they want to go. The Passport to Employment series will offer career education, job search skills, and job and interview opportunities for students."

What makes the program unique is the "Career Passport," a small, blue booklet that resembles an actual U.S. passport. URI students participating in Career Services events leading to the Ryan Center fair receive stamps that can be entered in drawings for prizes. The events range from a Summer Job & Internship Fair to resume and cover letter workshops.

"All of us in Career Services wanted to create strong momentum this semester and build to a big bang in the Ryan Center," said Peg Ferguson, assistant director of Career Services. "The Ryan Center fair will be our most diverse yet, with recruiters from health care professions, engineering, business management, environmental, government and non-profit agencies."

Ferguson said companies and agencies will be set up on the Ryan Center floor, and the concourse will be the site for several workshops.

The 14-page, Walgreens-sponsored passport contains information about upcoming career services events and workshops, exactly what services the staff offers, a page for the stamps, and the rules of the passportís use.

The Ryan Center fair on April 24 runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Raffle grand prizes for URI students who submit their "passports" are airline tickets, a portable DVD player, and an iPod. Only current URI students are eligible for the raffle.

Several large organizations are sponsoring the fair, including Maxim Healthcare Services, Walgreens, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Social Services, GTECH, and Kaiser Permadente. The fair will also cater to more than just URI students; the public is welcome, and the fair has been promoted to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut area colleges. "What we're hoping for is the most diverse group of employers we've had on campus," Ferguson said.

"From my point of view, itís the most ambitious [Career Services] program ever, but it's also a much more cohesive program," Ferguson said. "It's a challenge, there are a lot of firsts, a lot of unknowns."

It is the first fair to be held on a Saturday, the first held in the Ryan Center, and the first advertised and promoted publicly. The Passport to Employment at the Ryan Center will significantly ease the burden of parking for the larger numbers expected for the program.

Among the programs leading to the Ryan Center Fair are:

o The Rhode Island Consortium of Educators (RICE) Education Career Fair on April 14, Crowne Plaza, Warwick, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is required, and the event is not open to the public.
o Ongoing workshops focusing on resume and cover letter writing, working a job fair, and finding an internship

For a full list of programs and services offered by Career Services, go to http://career.uri.edu . For employer information and registration, contact Peg Ferguson at 401-874-2583.