A job hunter talks with an employer during the second CUAAASC Career Development Forum and Expo in Los Angeles, the United States, April 13, 2019. The career event was co-hosted by the Chinese University Alumni Association Alliance of Southern California (CUAAASC), an organization consisting of 50 Chinese university alumni associations including well known schools such as Tsinghua University and Peking University, and YLB Education Technology Inc. (YLB), an education platform that provides dedicated connections between international students and professional mentors. (Xinhua/Li Ying)
by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, April 14 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese university alumni event in Los Angeles is aiming to turn the international students' career "black hole" to a "career wormhole", with the mentorship from successful professionals.
Dr. Yutao He, president of the Tsinghua Alumni Association of Southern California and a senior scientist at NASA/JPL, mentioned the timely scientific news of the first photographed black hole Saturday at Los Angeles Convention Center, where a Chinese alumni career forum and expo was held and hundreds of job seekers lined up since morning.
He commented on the frustration of many students at the event. "They feel that once they submit a resume it disappears -- like the resume has fallen into a black hole." As the audience laughed, he explained that in order to escape from a "career black hole," both Chinese and American students need a "wormhole that allows you to arrive at another place."
The career event was co-hosted by the Chinese University Alumni Association Alliance of Southern California (CUAAASC), an organization consisting of 50 Chinese university alumni associations including well known schools such as Tsinghua University and Peking University, and YLB Education Technology Inc. (YLB), an education platform that provides dedicated connections between international students and professional mentors.
"The goal of this activity is to create a platform for effective communication and network between young job seekers in the community and Chinese and American employers, to help Chinese and American entrepreneurs effectively recruit talents, and to help job seekers gain job opportunities, thereby promoting the economic development of the community," Qiu Shaohuai, president of CUAAASC and CEO of YLB, told Xinhua.
Besides He, forum speakers were executives in entertainment, technology, finance, and communications who volunteered to offer some helpful advice to the attending job seekers on how to break into their industry.
The keynote speaker, the co-founder of E! Entertainment, Larry Namer, inspired the job seekers and the attending recruiters by emphasizing the importance of internships.
"We started that company with 31 interns and 11 employees," Namer told the audience. E! Entertainment is now worth nearly 4 billion dollars. Namer now heads Matan Global Entertainment which develops content for Chinese audiences and frequently hires international students.
Namer continued explaining to the audience that the Chinese box office numbers are quickly catching up to the U.S. box office. "There is not one studio I know that is not thinking about how they are going to penetrate the Chinese market ... they're going to have to hire young Chinese people, because you can't ignore what's going to be the largest market in the world."
Due to the high demand for Chinese language skills, most of the total 60 companies at the expo are open to hiring international students.
"The applicants were filled with hope -- they entered the hall with excitement and energy," said Marge Ordiales, vice president of CSI Professionals, Inc. and an international student herself two decades earlier, who attended the fair to recruit candidates for internships and specialized occupations such as accounting and data analysis.
"You saw on their faces many questions ... and even the fear of acceptance. These students moved forward to the next level, and decided to go beyond their comfort zone; so willingly ready to learn more. Should they decide to stay or return home, they will also leave a trail for others to learn. They are globally equipped to contribute not just to their home country, but to the world," Ordiales said.
"This career fair is extremely beneficial for Chinese students who are studying in America. It provided an opportunity for Chinese students to look for jobs in Chinese companies," a UC San Diego student from the Chinese Union student organization told Xinhua.
Bolun Gu, West Regional Manager, Mobile Business Department for China Telecom Americas Corp, explained why the students are willing to travel as far as from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to attend the event.
"China Telecom does hire international graduates because we need their Chinese language skills, and luckily, we are able to sponsor some excellent candidates," Gu explained.
However, all the companies and students have to face the huge challenges of the worse "black hole" -- H1B visa lottery -- a random selection system for international candidates who can stay to work in the United States.
International students graduating from a U.S. university have a one-to-three-year opportunity, depending on their area of study, to work in the country on their student visa. After that, they must be sponsored by a local company for an H1B work visa. This year over 200,000 petitions were filed for H1B visas, more than double the number that will be awarded.
"I was an international graduate from USC, I completely understand the struggle these students are facing -- I think it's getting even harder. Many companies won't even consider an international student because of how much hassle it is to offer work visa sponsorship," Gu said.
"The visa issue is really hard on employers because positions with niche skills such as Chinese language ability can be difficult to fill with the local job market alone," said Angela Efros, vice president of HG Plus, an L.A.-based recruiting firm, which is one of several organizations that helped co-organize the event.
"We are honored to support events that help the international student community. These hard-working graduates have so much to offer local employers," Efros said.