New website helps connect students with internships

A new website from Greater Mankato Growth is aiming at keeping local job and internship listings all in the same place.

Greater Mankato Jobs (greatermankatojobs.com) launched earlier this year with a goal of attracting and retaining people in the Mankato area job market. According to MNSU Management Assistant Professor Shane Bowyer, the city is expected to be 3,000 people short for the jobs needed in two years.

“That’s such a big number because jobs are always being created,” he said.

The website is a portal within the Greater Mankato Growth (GMG) website. GMG is a city organization that supports economic growth and stability. The group partnered with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and RealTime Talent to create Greater Mankato Jobs. The website uses the WorkFountain platform to let employers post job and internship listings and connect them with job-seekers.

“A lot of people leave their jobs because they didn’t know what they were getting into. These listings will lay everything out for them,” Bowyer said.

From the job-seeker end, the user is asked a variety of questions about their interests, work place environments and their priority needs. They then upload all their information and the website connects them with the appropriate employment opportunities. The user will either be matched with job listings instantly or their information will sit on the website until an employer contacts them directly. Employers will be notified if a user matches what they’re looking for.

Bowyer said the website has been working with the Career Development Center to integrate job postings from Handshake.

“I’ve heard CEOs say that they want a single portal for everything,” GMG President and CEO Jonathan Zierdt said. “This is like eHarmony meets Indeed.”

While one goal of the website is to attract talent to the city, another is to retain it. After graduating from college, many students leave to find work elsewhere.

“The reality is between the colleges and universities in this community, we have this enormous resource of talent to tap and we’re not using it well,” said Nancy Zallek, Mankato Area Foundation executive director.

Greater Mankato Jobs is meant to connect graduates with jobs in Mankato and the surrounding communities. Zallek connects donors with the right places in her position with the Mankato Area Foundation. She’s served on an advisory committee to help bring talent to the city.

“We hope graduates will stay on and become part of our community with this site,” she said. “That’s just a resource that we’ve begun to tap and there’s so much more opportunity there.”

Zallek’s own son was attending college two hours away and after unsuccessfully searching for an internship in the Twin Cities, was able to find an internship in Mankato. While he didn’t use Greater Mankato Jobs to find the position, Zallek said that it proves that there are opportunities in Mankato for everyone.

Another initiative from GMG, Kato X, will be tied to Greater Mankato Jobs. Short for Mankato Experience, Kato X will provide a virtual tour experience of the city. It’ll provide users with information and a number of virtual experiences about Mankato.

“Visitors will think, ‘Wow, that’s a really good place to live.’ What’s their next question? ‘Is there work for me there’,” Zierdt said. “That’s where we’ll have a button to link Greater Mankato Jobs.”

The Organizational Effectiveness Research Group at MNSU has been helping with the development of this initiative. Kato X is expected to launch Nov. 15.

“It’s all about trying to help the local economy and students,” Bowyer said. “There will be a lot more postings coming in the next three to four months.”

Gabe Hewitt

Gabe is a junior mass media student at MSU. He's usually up for anything. You can find him on Twitter (@gabehewitt) or you can email him at gabriel.hewitt@mnsu.edu.

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