On January 14th, the Great Lakes JET Alumni Association (GLJETAA) invited JCMU alumni to attend their first annual GLJETAA Job Fair in Novi, MI. The event aimed to connect talented individuals that have a background in Japanese language and/or culture with Japan-related organizations based in and around Michigan. Companies such as Yazaki North America, Harada Industry of America, Inc., Cosmo Solutions Technology, and more discussed job opportunities with around 200 attendees, over 40 of which were former JCMU students.
The event began with introductory remarks from Adam Wolf, the president of GLJETAA and the organizer of the job fair. He then invited Mr. Katsutoshi Uno, the Executive Managing Director of Hirotech Corporation, to speak to those in attendance. Mr. Uno said that he was excited by the prospects of bringing bilingual/multicultural talent together with companies that sought their services. These opportunities are not solely for work in translation – in fact, he noted that Hirotech Corporation alone hired individuals to work in HR, engineering, and more.
Jobs and internships were available for both experienced workers and those that just graduated from college alike, so he wanted to make sure that prospective employees were not scared away from applying due to their lack of professional experience. “I want [students and recent graduates] to know that there are so many amazing opportunities here where you can use your skills to develop your career.” He also told everyone that their Japanese language and cultural skills would be highly sought after – even if they were not perfect. “You don’t need to speak or write perfect Japanese – don’t be too humble,” he says. “You don’t need to be a native speaker to be helpful [to our organizations].”
Following Mr. Uno’s words, attendees had the chance to walk around and speak with the companies present. Several JCMU alumni, including recent and experienced alike, were surprised to find that the employers present greatly valued their experiences studying abroad in Japan. In fact, some employers even noted that it was sometimes difficult to find such highly qualified individuals with knowledge of Japanese language and cultural customs!
GLJETAA and JCMU would like to thank all of those in attendance for helping make the event so successful, and we hope it will garner even more interest next year! As a reminder, Japan remains one of the largest foreign investors in Michigan, employing over 40,000 annually. If you would like to add Japanese study abroad experience to your resume, then we encourage you to go on one of the JCMU’s many various programs running throughout the year. If you have already graduated and would like add to your curriculum vitae by teaching English in Japan, then consider applying to the JET Program.