Ten Kentucky State University students loaded two vans with three days of luggage and high hopes of landing an internship at professional baseball’s Winter Meetings. The Winter Meetings were held December 6-10 in Nashville and featured seminars, a trade show, and most important to the students, a job fair.
“There were numerous opportunities to get a career, either part-time, full-time or an internship as an associate or member of minor league or major league baseball. It was definitely eye-opening for me,” Arefes Everette, a senior and member of the KSU baseball team said. Everette found out about the job fair from head baseball coach Rob Henry who accompanied the students on the trip.
The students’ majors ranged from education to mass communications and just four of those in attendance were members of the baseball team.
“I had a chance to have two group interviews. One was with Game Day USA located in Naperville, Illinois, and the other was with Cooperstown Dream Park in New York,” Everette said. “I would definitely encourage others going to an event like this to be well-prepared. Have things under their belt and on their resume showing that they’ve done internships and have been involved with activities around campus and in the community.”
The students’ trip was sponsored by the Lexington Legends baseball team who teamed up with the University to help expose students to the other side of professional sports.
“The Legends are pleased to partner with KSU on this opportunity,” Legends President and CEO Andy Shea said. “This will provide a chance for some very talented and energetic students to meet with decision-makers and very possibly get started on an exciting and rewarding career in baseball.” It was also an opportunity to help diversify the sport.
Competition was stiff with hundreds of participants vying for coveted positions. Positions ranged from unpaid internships to full-time positions in areas including grounds keeping, accounting and community relations.
The atmosphere was fast-paced and competitive, giving students a firsthand glimpse of today’s job market. Prospective interns huddled around blackboards plastered with job postings jotting down job ID numbers of positions in which they were interested. The next step was to write the job number at the top of their resume and drop it into the towering stacks with other hopefuls. Several times throughout the day, job fair officials would post the names of job seekers selected for interviews for each position and students again would rush to the boards, this time hoping to see their names.
Many of the students landed multiple interviews over the course of the job fair and several walked away with the strong possibility of pending offers. Indianapolis senior Bria Perry landed several interviews during the week, in addition to two she secured prior to arriving at the Winter Meetings.
“As soon as we gained access to the website, I started looking at positions,” Perry said. “I started reaching out and emailing my resume. I told the team contacts that whether or not they’d be here, I would be here in Nashville for the Winter Meetings. There were two that wanted to set up a time to meet while we were here.”
Henry encouraged students to explore other areas at the convention, which led to many other students networking outside of the job fair setting.
“I think it’s been a great experience this week because it gives our students a chance to experience what a job fair is like and to see what the competition is like out there,” Henry said. “And of course with me being a baseball coach, it’s a little bit more near and dear to my heart. It’s always been a great vehicle to give our students an opportunity to see what the competition is like and see what they’re up against in any area — whether it’s professional sports or anything else it might be.”