Every month Prairie Business asks several business leaders in the region a question to glean their insights and intuition. Below are the responses of four professionals and their responses to this month's question:

What does your company do to connect with local college and university students in an effort to encourage them to explore post-graduation career options within the company?

Carrie McTaggart, campus recruiter, Eide Bailly, Fargo, N.D.

Carrie McTaggart
Carrie McTaggartImage: Courtesy of Eide Bailly

We believe the key to connecting to students is through relationship building and have focused Eide Bailly’s campus recruiting efforts around this idea.

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Students today have easy access to facts about your company. They want connection and are more likely to show interest in your post-graduation opportunities if they have a relationship with someone from your company. Throughout the school year, we host and attend a variety of events on campus and in our office, such as career fairs, presentations, and other fun events that show off our culture.

We host two big events each year that allow students to explore career options with Eide Bailly post-graduation. Meet Eide Bailly Day is an afternoon in which students learn about Eide Bailly’s services and career paths. The other event is a two-day summer program for selected students. Our hope is that through our Summer Leadership Program, we find students whose values relate to our culture, and they find a career path and company that interests them.

If you are questioning where to start on forming relationships with students, reach out to your local college and university career centers. They are always willing to work with employers to connect them to students.

Marc Mellmer, vice president, JE Dunn Construction, Dickinson and Williston, N.D.

Marc Mellmer
Marc MellmerImage: JE Dunn Construction

JE Dunn has an established campus recruitment strategy where we partner with 35-plus schools across the country including North Dakota State University, University of North Dakota, Williston State College, and Bismarck State College. This includes attending fall and spring career fairs, guest lectures, leading student group jobsite tours, and more.

JE Dunn’s early career professional recruitment takes place both in the fall (September to November) and spring (March to May). The process includes a series of conversations and interviews that allows us to get to know each individual, understand their goals and aspirations, as well evaluate their background. More importantly, it also gives students a chance to get to know us.

JE Dunn takes pride in offering college students a hands-on experience that not only provides invaluable project and field skills, but also that prepares new graduates for future employment in the construction industry. JE Dunn’s internship program is not your typical intern experience. Our interns are out on project sites, getting in the trenches from day one, and contributing to the construction of buildings that change skylines – and careers.

Kari Kiesow, human resources manager, TSP Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Kari Kiesow
Kari KiesowImage: Courtesy of TSP Inc.

As a legacy firm that opened 90 years ago, TSP puts an intense focus on succession planning and finding good talent, particularly for our architectural and engineering disciplines. Our team knows brief interactions at career fairs will not create the relationships we desired. Instead, we selected a handful of colleges close to our offices in three states to work closely with the faculty and students. We are one of four firms that helped create a new department of architecture at South Dakota State University.

TSP team members provide in-person classroom instruction and offer design critiques that give students real-world exposure and feedback. Our college internship program in architecture, engineer, and interior design stretches back for decades. We offer scholarships and fellowship opportunities. Our firm’s founder – Harold Spitznagel – was passionate about art in architecture. Because future employees come from various majors, we also support an award in his name through Augustana University’s Art Department.

Bryan Balcome, vice president, Widseth, Alexandria, Minn.

Bryan Balcome
Bryan BalcomeImage: Courtesy if Widseth

Our corporate future is only as strong as the new talents we add to our firm. Our land survey and civil engineering teams’ steady growth is thanks, in part, to Widseth’s relationships with the faculty and staff of North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, N.D. (NDSCS); St. Cloud Technical & Community College, St. Cloud, Minn.; and South Central College, Mankato, Minn.

Each year, we make a presentation to the first- and second-year students that showcases our services and local projects, providing real-world insight into our professions through examples the students are familiar with. We also discuss our available internships and seasonal or full-time positions, with several inquiries and new hires as a result.

In 2019, Widseth initiated the Jesse Haugen Memorial Scholarship at NDSCS in memory of Jesse Haugen, a 2001 graduate of NDSCS’s land surveying and civil engineering technology program. Jesse worked in Widseth’s Bemidji office from 2011 until his untimely death in 2018. We are proud to honor Jesse’s memory by encouraging NDSCS land surveying and civil engineering technology students to follow their passion.