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Once news of the public health emergency had sunk in, and the country began to close shop state by state, many employers started revoking job offers. For Ashley Turner, who’s worked as a university and professional relations development manager at Career Communications Group (CCG) for four years, it was one of the biggest human resource (HR) crises she’d ever faced.

The fall internship season, which traditionally starts in September, is usually the beginning of a busy year for the self-starter at CCG’s Detroit Metro Office.

Turner’s job includes matching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent like Brenden Dominick, a mechanical engineering major at Oklahoma State University, with internships. During the summer of 2019, Brenden worked as a process engineering intern at Boston Scientific, a medical device manufacturer.

Other students who did an internship at Boston Scientific include Samantha Schwab, a New American University Scholar majoring in chemical engineering at Arizona State University, and Kendra Currier, who did a process development engineering co-op from August through December of 2019. Currier is majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Toledo in Ohio.

Coming off the success of CCG’s BEYA STEM Conference Job Fair in February, Turner was sure she had students like Brenden, Samantha, and Kendra ready to launch their careers in the spring of 2020. But COVID-19 lockdowns would upend the best-laid plans for more than 300 students and new college graduates.

Turner used the time at home to max out Jobscience solutions. This time, it wasn’t just teleworking to attract, engage, and recruit candidates, she needed a whole new strategy for keeping employers connected.

“I’m literally on Zoom every hour of the day, or I’m texting,” Turner said on Microsoft Teams. “I have two MacBook going, my iPad and iPhone.”

Turner’s multitasking efforts have been productive. To date, she has placed about 40 STEM college graduates with Ernst & Young, one of the largest professional services firms in the world.

“Kohler picked up eleven,” added Turner.

As Ernst & Young, Kohler, which manufactures plumbing products, tiles, engines, and generators, take part regularly in job fairs held at CCG events such as the BEYA STEM Conference in the nation’s capital and the Women of Color in STEM Conference held every October in Detroit.

“I want to try to help as many students (and new graduates) as possible,” Turner said. “I know for a lot of them, they’re not feeling the love from employers so I have meetings to try and keep their spirits up and figure out strategic ways in which JobMatch can help.”

Listen to Ashley Turner talk more about the JobMatch program here.

CCG’s JobMatch specializes in the recruitment and placement of STEM professionals and interns. Their large and growing roster of internship and job-ready candidates are actively involved in CCG conferences, college career fairs, community programs, professional development, and career networking events. CCG focuses exclusively on the promotion of STEM opportunities to historically underrepresented groups.

On-campus and in the community, Brenden has served as a Native American student advocate, vice president of the Native American Student Association, and treasurer of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chapter at Oklahoma State University. At Boston Scientific, he worked on innovative cancer treatments and analyzed experiments submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Brenden expects to graduate in May 2021

Turner is confident that she will help everyone find a job.

Her day starts at about 8:30 a.m. combing through Salesforce applications and her candidate pool in Jobscience. After reading through tons of emails, she begins video conferencing. She deftly manages Zoom links, video, and audio online meetings with consummate ease.

Turner keeps the door of the room she’s converted to an office closed. But when her pit bull, called Doctor, appears on the screen, he knows not to derail the streamlined hiring process.

“My message to students is to keep that ambition going,” Turner said. “Take this downtime to better yourself for the workforce. Because work is coming, and it’s going to come full throttle. So, we need them to be ready. For employers, JobMatch is here to assist in every way possible to link with a great talent pool. But to be successful at this time, they need to transition as well,” Turner said.

Although employers like American Express, BAE Systems, and IBM Research have announced a hiring freeze, (some suspended with a chance of reinstatement if circumstances change) other companies like 3M, AT&T, Boeing, and Capital One are offering remote internships.

“I know HR teams at Boston Scientific Corporation are trying to figure out what’s going to work for them strategically,” Turner said. “But a lot of companies were blindsided by COVID-19. They weren’t ready for virtual. They’re so used to interviewing face-to-face and people coming in to work. People at T-Mobile and Abbott Laboratories (medical devices and health care company) were quick to transition to virtual,” she said.

Listen to Ashley Turner talk more about the JobMatch program here.

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