» By ANTHONY IRIZARRY – airizarry1@my.apsu.edu

In today’s current economic winter, it is a nationwide challenge for people of all demographics to acquire employment. A widening income gap, the surging struggle to make ends meet and the mismanagement of funds have resulted in growing tensions around our country.

Consequently, the aforementioned issues have spurred numerous protests and also set the primary backdrop of discussion for this year’s political race.

On account of this, APSU has taken it upon itself to continue to provide opportunities for both students and alumni through their involvement in this year’s Career and Teacher Recruitment Fairs held in the Nashville Area Career Fairs taking place on Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Nashville Area Career Fairs Consortium is comprised of a mix of several colleges, universities, employers and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce whose goal is to improve the recruitment process for students, alumni, employers and graduate schools through the promotion of employment opportunity.

The registration deadline for this event is Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Janet Velazquez, assistant director of Career, Services elaborated on the event. “There are over 65 schools,” she said. “Some of these schools include Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and of course, Tennessee.”

Velazquez also mentioned the Peace Corps will be involved in the fair, remarking it as “interesting”.

There will be over 106 companies involved in the fair, which is open to juniors, seniors and alumni, although there have also been rare occurrences where freshmen and sophomore participate. Last year, over 500 students attended the Teacher Recruitment Fair.

According to nashvillefairs.org, in order for institutions to be part of a consortium, they must offer Bachelor’s degrees and above, be within a 100-mile radius of Nashville, accredited by a regionally recognized accrediting association; are nonproprietary; have an established career services office with professional staff involved in career services functions and designated to serve on the Consortium.

Each institution requesting membership must submit a request and be approved no later than August 2012 to participate in the career fairs.

APSU has participated in this event for several years, according to Velazquez. “Networking is the most important thing, even if students aren’t offered an opportunity on the spot, it is still a great opportunity for them to meet the companies. With that said, there are still many students who have gotten jobs with good companies through these fairs,” Velazquez said.

For everyone — including college students — scrambling for jobs in today’s financial crisis, the career fair provides a great opportunity for not only the attainment of a stable job, but the growth of one’s social network. TAS