Stay in the Swamp Career Fair a Proven Success


The Hough Graduate School of Business was buzzing last Thursday as over 110 graduate students and alumni attended the inaugural “Stay in the Swamp” Career Fair, in search of an internship or full-time job. With the roles reversed, they were greeted by 14 local employers, who each pitched their company, organizational culture and job opportunities in three minutes to an overflowing crowd in the auditorium. Each student then proceeded to their table of choice to speak with company representatives about further employment opportunities. Employers in attendance included Grooveshark, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Enterprise Holdings, Infinite Energy, Info Tech and more.

The UF Graduate Business Career Services (GBCS) organized and hosted “Stay in the Swamp” in partnership with FloridaWorks and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce over a four-week time span. This event is designed to promote local employment opportunities, in hopes to retain current and former students in the Gainesville area.

“It is essential that the business community partners with university and workforce development to showcase local jobs and harvest town-grown talent,” states Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Council for Economic Outreach.

The following features made this career fair distinctive. It was held after hours between 6pm – 9pm to appeal to the students’ availability. It was only open to students and alumni of the business college, resume books were prepared in advance for employers, company profiles were prepared for students, and the employers were required to pitch why applicants should select their company, instead of vice versa.

“The event that UF Graduate Business Career Services Office in collaboration with FloridaWorks and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, applied a twist to the normal career event. They created a shift in focus that gave leverage to employers first and this allowed for stimulating conversation with grad students, who may have only viewed our careers page. Info Tech, Inc. will certainly be involved again and again,” states Brandon Labonte, Executive Recruiter of InfoTech, Inc.

“There is such a push to keep talent in Florida,” states GBCS Director Craig Petrus. “That message has come from Florida Governor Rick Scott and from University of Florida President Bernie Machen. Everyone associated with GBCS and the Hough School of Business is eager to help our talented students and alumni receive jobs and internships in the state of Florida.”

All three partnering entities look forward to hosting another “Stay in the Swamp” Career Fair, in hopes of expanding the invitation to more local companies, promoting more internship opportunities, and bringing fairs such as this one twice a year to the students.

“FloridaWorks is proud of the community collaboration that supports a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship and opportunity. It is our goal to fulfill the hiring needs of local businesses by connecting them with top talent, much of which is already here in Gainesville,” states Kim Tesch-Vaught, Executive Director of FloridaWorks. “Make sure you register in so the FloridaWorks team can match you to local employers looking for great talent now and in the future.”

Click here to view a photo stream of event.

FloridaWorks is an equal opportunity employer/program.