Companies seek ISU engineers, officials say

Abbie Moeller

ISU engineering graduates receive job placement at almost a 50 percent higher rate than engineering graduates from the University of Iowa.Six months after graduation, 99 percent of the spring 1999 Iowa State engineering graduates were placed, said Denise Kinneberg, secretary at Engineering Career Services. Placement includes jobs accepted and offered in industry and graduate school attendees. This is compared to a 52 percent job placement rate at the University of Iowa, said Chandra Arkema, placement specialist at Engineering Career Services at the University of Iowa.An exact match between what engineering students need to learn and what they are taught is found at Iowa State, said Thomas Wheelock, university professor of chemical engineering. Wheelock said communication, teamwork and strong math and engineering skills are important for engineering students. “[ISU students] learn to analyze and solve the kind of problems they will encounter in their professions,” he said.The attributes taught at Iowa State are also explicitly stated by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. ABET produces a list of characteristics it looks for in graduates of accredited engineering programs.”At Iowa State, we are succeeding in educating engineering students so that by the time they graduate, they possess most, if not all, of those attributes,” said Ted Okiishi, associate dean of engineering. Judy Vance, associate professor of mechanical engineering, also admires the engineering college’s focus on undergraduate education and internship and co-op experiences. Pella Corporation looks for real-world experience when considering potential employees, said John Woestman, technical recruiting manager for Pella.”Iowa State pushes the co-op and internship experiences [for undergraduates],” he said. Engineering graduates also must have reasonably strong academics, leadership, teamwork and enthusiasm for the job to be successful with Pella, he said.Reid Christopherson, Pella Corporation recruiting manager, said ISU graduates are hired in large numbers by the corporation.”ISU is definitely our top engineering school in the number of employees coming to Pella,” he said. He said the corporation also hires engineers from Kansas State University and North Dakota State University and only a few from the University of Nebraska, the University of Iowa and Purdue University. Okiishi said companies value what they find in ISU students.Cargill, 3M, General Motors, Ford, Maytag and John Deere were also named by Wheelock and Vance for hiring many ISU engineering graduates from their departments.”Companies from all over the world understand that there’s still a work ethic [in the Midwest],” Okiishi said.