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Old 01-04-2014, 05:31 PM
 
27 posts, read 101,925 times
Reputation: 32

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Hello everyone!

I was wondering if anyone had any leads on engineering companies hiring entry level engineers in Colorado. I made a few posts on a similar topic about a year ago and I received plenty of useful information from the helpful members of this forum. As I get closer to my graduation, I wanted to reach out once more in an attempt to make this dream happen before I finish school.

I'm a senior in mechanical engineering with a 3.91 GPA and a graduation date of May 2014. I'm currently working as a mechanical engineering intern at a local power generation company (re: natural gas/steam turbine power plant). By the time I finish school, I'll have one year of experience as an intern completing small-scale design work and working with maintenance personnel, plant operators, and contractors for various tasks. I have already received several job offers in states other than Colorado and have signed the one I considered the best but I'm still trying to nab something in Colorado before May.

I've been feverishly looking at job postings online and applying when my skills match the position. Unfortunately, it seems to me that there are very few entry level positions for mechanical engineers in Colorado and I may be getting passed over for local candidates given my minimal experience. I am seeing plenty of entry level positions for IT, software engineering, and programming as well as plenty of postings for experienced (re: 3+ years) mechanical engineers. My family in Colorado did say that there was a big water pipeline project taking off in the state but I haven't seen any postings for that.

Any tips you all have to help me realize my dream of living near the Rocky Mountains would be absolutely wonderful. I'm open to any industry and any city within Colorado. I've wanted to live in Colorado ever since my family started taking skiing vacations there and I'm just trying to figure out how to make it happen.

I suppose the worst case scenario is I start working the job I've already been offered and continue to apply to jobs in Colorado until I get one. I'm just not sure how long that will take. With that said, a member of my family did say I could live with them rent free at their place in Colorado until I find something but if there aren't any entry level jobs now, I'm not sure how long I'd be unemployed before I find something. Plus, turning down a good paying job for unemployment and geographical preference doesn't seem very wise to me. I know some people have done it and I may make the same decision eventually but the ideal would be finding a job there before moving.

If any of you have any input or advice, I'm all ears. Thanks for reading.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:50 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,739,484 times
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Colorado schools essentially crank out more engineering graduates than there are jobs in Colorado for them to fill. I've known a number of very smart kids who graduated with honors from Colorado engineering schools. Nearly all of them had to go out of state to find entry-level jobs. Some of them made it back to Colorado after getting experience elsewhere, but a lot never did. Colorado is also doing an excellent job of chasing the heavy industry out of the state that provide a lot of the engineering jobs.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:10 PM
 
27 posts, read 101,925 times
Reputation: 32
Thanks for the input, Jazzlover. I've seen a number of your posts on this site while researching employment prospects and I'm glad you're here to answer questions. Unfortunately, the truth can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow. If you don't mind my asking, in what engineering disciplines were some of the people you knew? I could understand petroleum and chemical engineering graduates having a tough time finding employment in Colorado.

Also, any thoughts on why most engineering jobs in Colorado are for mostly experienced people while other states like Texas and California have a huge number of entry level engineering jobs? I would assume the desirability of the location allows employers to have more stringent requirements.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,857 posts, read 9,586,952 times
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Perhaps you could network with members of the Colorado Chapter of the Society of Professional Engineers? How about the Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers? The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado?
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:32 PM
 
254 posts, read 427,388 times
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There is a lot of competition for engineers in CO. Many of the entry level jobs go to people who have done internships in CO and/or have earned degrees in CO, however. The Fed Govt is reducing funding for several projects in CO (i.e. at Lockheed Martin) and the mining industry is in the pits, so there is an ample supply of engineers here. If you were a petroleum engineer, that would be another story. If you are a female, that can be a bonus, but I don't want to turn this topic into a can of worms so I'll let it go at that.

CU-Boulder and CO School of Mines (and DU and CSU, to a somewhat lesser extent) are well regarded in terms of providing interns and entry level mechanical engineers, so you will be up against some tough competition. Your internship should be a plus for you as an applicant. I understand your desire to live here (some of us think it's quite wonderful) but I'm not sure I'd recommend passing up a job to come here and be unemployed. Consider taking the job offer and moving here after you're no longer entry level/have some experience. Being unemployed and in CO is not going to make you more attractive as an applicant compared to someone with experience, even if that experience is not in CO.

I couldn't easily locate info for CU Boulder, but found this information regarding CSM: "Historically,
around 55% of Mines graduates have remained to work in Colorado." http://careers.mines.edu/Files/2012_...Appendices.pdf 91% of mechanical engineers had positive employment outcomes in '12-13.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:05 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,739,484 times
Reputation: 9129
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamingDog View Post
Thanks for the input, Jazzlover. I've seen a number of your posts on this site while researching employment prospects and I'm glad you're here to answer questions. Unfortunately, the truth can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow. If you don't mind my asking, in what engineering disciplines were some of the people you knew? I could understand petroleum and chemical engineering graduates having a tough time finding employment in Colorado.

Also, any thoughts on why most engineering jobs in Colorado are for mostly experienced people while other states like Texas and California have a huge number of entry level engineering jobs? I would assume the desirability of the location allows employers to have more stringent requirements.

Thanks for your help.
Most recently, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering.

To answer the second question, places like Texas and California have more industry that needs people in the engineering fields. As I posted earlier, Colorado's heavy industrial base has been shrinking for years. You are also correct that it's a "buyer's market" for a lot of career fields because of Colorado's perceived desirability as a place to live.

The irony of Colorado is that it is a magnet for the young 20-something relatively inexperienced job seeker, but the job market is best for 30 to 40-somethings with job experience, excellent work habits, and stable employment records.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:10 PM
 
27 posts, read 101,925 times
Reputation: 32
Thank you everyone for your input. I really appreciate you all taking the time to lend me your thoughts. Although it wasn't what I wanted to hear, I expected that this was the feedback I'd receive.

Dreaming of Hawaii,

I'll do some research on those organizations you mentioned and try to make some contacts. I didn't think to attempt to network with engineering societies but I'll look into it. Thank you for the help.

MountainK,

Thank you for your response. It was very informative and helpful. Also, thank you for the link. I'll read through that document on Mines. Only 55% of Mines graduates staying in Colorado seems to be a bad sign for my goal. That figure gives me a better perspective on reality though.

I understand hydraulic fracturing and natural gas pipeline projects are big in Colorado at the moment. Is that why you said it would be easier to find something as a petroleum engineer? Here in Texas, most oil companies will take PEs or MEs for those entry level field engineer jobs. Perhaps it's different in Colorado.

I completely agree that taking the job and gaining experience would be the best option. I suppose the alternatives are applying for an MSME at a Colorado school or looking to other Rocky Mountain states to be near the mountains. However, getting a masters is not necessary for an engineer in most cases and graduating from a Colorado school offers no guarantee that I would find employment in the state. Although I have my eye on ultimately ending up in a Colorado mountain town like Conifer or Nederland, I'd still be satisfied in other places/states that offer skiing, mountains, four seasons, and the like.

I think my ultimate take away from your post is that I'll just continue to apply to jobs in Colorado and the surrounding Rocky Mountain states until I get something. Maybe I'll luck out and land something before graduation. Maybe it will take a few years of work experience before employers are willing to hire me. Either way, this is my dream and I'll keep taking measurable steps to making it happen one way or another. Thank you again.

Jazzlover,

That surprises me that students of those majors had trouble staying in state. Once again, reality isn't always what we want it to be, is it?

Your post reiterates what MountainK said in that industry in Colorado tends to prefer experienced workers and that employers can afford to be picky due to their location. That's unfortunate for me but I understand why it is that way.

On a side note, to what state did you move, if you don't mind my asking?
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:51 PM
 
599 posts, read 830,731 times
Reputation: 585
I only know one ME who works in CO, he is a CO native, and he accomplished that feat by working somewhere else and getting an MBA while he was gone.

As jazzlover said, there is very little manufacturing or mechanical design in CO any more. Most MEs work in energy, and CSM and CU provide all the new grads the industry can handle, and then some.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,804 posts, read 102,103,104 times
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OP, do take these posts with a grain of salt! It's not as bad as some of these guys make it sound. My friend's son graduated from CSM in ME. While he was job hunting, a friend called him up and said his company was looking for MEs and the next day he was working on contract. At the first of the year, they made him a permanent employee. I don't know the name of the company, but they have offices downtown and in the tech center.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:54 PM
 
599 posts, read 830,731 times
Reputation: 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
OP, do take these posts with a grain of salt! It's not as bad as some of these guys make it sound. My friend's son graduated from CSM in ME. While he was job hunting, a friend called him up and said his company was looking for MEs and the next day he was working on contract. At the first of the year, they made him a permanent employee. I don't know the name of the company, but they have offices downtown and in the tech center.
Classic case of having a referral from a friend, and being a local graduate.
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