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Promoting Career Readiness at Community Colleges

By Nadine Verna, Montclair State University

As community college becomes increasingly attractive to cost-conscious high school graduates and nontraditional learners, preparing students for the workforce has become a major priority for career services staff at these institutions.  The timing for enhanced community college career development couldn’t be better, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 17.6% growth in jobs that require an associate’s degree by 2022.  However, with varying student abilities and limited departmental budgets challenging progress, the selection of career services can vary greatly from institution to institution.


Helen Boyke*, who helped launch the Career Readiness Initiative, a program at Norwalk Community College that promotes NACE’s career readiness competencies, got to see first-hand the impact of customizing career programs to meet community college students’ needs.  Below are her suggestions for successfully preparing community college students for the job market:


Share the good news.  There is a growing market for professionals at the associate’s degree level, including well-paying positions like Dental Hygienists, Registered Nurses, Legal Assistants, Construction Managers, Physical therapy assistants and Web developers.  Meanwhile the average salary for associate’s degree grads is $52,830, as opposed to $36,100 for high school graduates.  Students should be exposed to such statistics and provided opportunities to explore career possibilities through educational programs, on-campus employer information sessions, and site visits such as those provided through EACE’s Road Trips to the Real World program to generate excitement about and motivation for professional development.


Meet students where they are.  Be sure to connect with students early in their academic careers, sending introductory emails and participating in new student orientation.  Message to students that career services provides an opportunity to grow – they need not have their careers figured out before seeking support from the office.  Meanwhile, challenge them to take ownership of their career journey.


Keep it simple.  Recognizing that anxiety often accompanies career-related discussions and that community college students are a diverse group with different backgrounds and levels of college readiness, develop a plan or design a program that is easy for them to follow and promote self-care along the way.  Also, prepare checklists and/or timelines that will keep students on track and allow you to hold them accountable.  Free templates for career readiness program materials are available.


Partner with others. Once you assess students and determine areas that need support and development (see EACE’s Assessment Resource Center for tools), identify and refer them to the appropriate offices, academic departments, and organizations.  Also, develop relationships with staff at those entities to cross-promote programs and collaborate on new initiatives.  Consider partnering with other campuses that have similar missions and populations as well.

*Helen Boyke recently transitioned to a new role at Sacred Heart University


Nadine Verna currently serves as the Director of Career Development for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University. She also heads Membership Outreach Campaigns for the EACE PR and Marketing Committee. In addition to career services, Nadine has held posts in admissions, academic advising, and multicultural affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, journaling and traveling.


Meet Danielle Fine! EACE Member Spotlight

Danielle Fine

Campus Recruiting, Baker Tilly,

Danielle Fine

Where are you originally from?


Where do you live now?

Arlington, VA

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

Paddleboard, spend time with friends, family, and my dogs.

Why do you do what you do?

I enjoy connecting with students early on in their college careers and guiding them down a path that offers so many opportunities

What is your educational background?

I graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management

What was your first job?

Event Coordinator for a trade association

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Understand that it typically takes a year for someone to get acquainted with their role, the key players and ownership of responsibilities.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I barely passed my accounting class in undergrad, and now work for a public accounting firm.

Want to be featured as an EACE member on the EACE Trending Blog? Just fill out this form here. Thank you!

Meet Steven Patrick Wilt! EACE Member Spotlight

Steven Patrick Wilt

Career Services Coordinator, Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus,


Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

Outside of work, I enjoy gaming in all its various forms – video games, board games, card games, as well as tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons. The individuals I have met through gaming-related experiences have been some of the most interesting people I have ever encountered. They have rich backgrounds filled with fascinating stories and countless adventures. They also have a unique way of looking at world, the problems that exist within it, and arrive at some of the most creative solutions you will ever hear. Beyond gaming, I can often be found walking my dog on the trail near my home, visiting family out of state, or spending an evening out with my partner.

Why do you do what you do?

I believe everyone can passionately pursue purpose but cannot always easily recognize or define what that purpose may be. I was fortunate enough to find mine because of mentorship I received through graduate school. I want others to have that opportunity – to find meaning and purpose in all that they do.

What is your educational background?

I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus and a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the California University of Pennsylvania.

What was your first job?

My very first paying job was a babysitter. I come from a very large family, so there were plenty of opportunities to make and save money as I was growing up. My four older siblings have 3+ kids each so I learned a lot of valuable skills from those experiences.

What is the best advice you ever received?

“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” This is a quote by Kobi Yamada, but my mentor Gina Watts used it often when talking to me about fear, doubt, and taking risks.

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. The amount of information out there regarding job trends, best practices, and everything related to career development and coaching is overwhelming. You will probably never learn it all – and that’s okay. Allow yourself to be human.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I am able to solve a Rubik’s Cube. It is something I learned from a fellow intern many years ago.

Want to be featured on the EACE Trending blog as an EACE member? Just fill out the Google form here. Thank you! 

Ask the Recruiter Series! Submit now!

Although many of us give great job search advice to students on a daily basis, we all know the value for students to hear that advice directly from a recruiter. As a result, the EACE Trending Blog is excited to announce the start of a new series called “Ask the Recruiter.”

two person in formal attire doing shakehands

Photo by on

The goal of this series is to have recruiters share their expertise and advice on the internship and job search process so that career development professionals can better address students’ concerns. Some questions may include, “Do you actually read cover letters?” or “What do want to hear in the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question?” We aim to feature a different industry recruiter each month to showcase a breadth of industry-specific advice as well as general job search advice.

If you’re a recruiter interested in sharing your expertise with us, please fill out this and we’ll be able to feature your advice in the coming months!

5 Reasons You Should Visit HubSpot for EACE Road Trips to the Real World!

5 Reasons You Should Register to Visit HubSpot for RTRW by December 7th, 2018

Hi, we’re HubSpot!

Founded in 2006, we provide marketing, sales and customer service software that helps businesses attract, engage and delight customers on the web. Through this road trip, we’re excited to open our offices to you to share more about what we do and what it’s like to work here.

For example, here are 5 things that we’re looking forward to talking about during this road trip:

1) It’s a great place to work.

Hubspot 1

We’re proud of our strong commitment to employee culture, especially as we continue to scale globally. Recently, HubSpot was named a Best Place to Work in 2019 thanks to employee reviews on Glassdoor, a Top Place to Work in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe, and also a Best Workplace for Women by Great Place to Work and Fortune.

2) For students, we’re a great place to start your career.

Hubspot 2

We offer career opportunities just for students in the form of internships, co-ops, and entry-level positions across HubSpot. We’re growing fast and that means there’s endless opportunity for you to do the same. We’re invested in helping you build a career you love from day one and have the culture to prove it.

3) You can have a big impact here and give you complete autonomy to do so.

Hubspot 3

From marketing to engineering, there are big challenges yet to be solved at HubSpot. Because we care more about curiosity than experience, you’ll work on tasks alongside experienced team members that directly impact our customers, business, and employees. Additionally, transparency is at the heart of HubSpot culture. You’ll have access to all the resources and information you need to take ownership and make key decisions.

4) We’re passionate about creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity.

Hubspot 4At HubSpot, we’re proud to have employee-led resource groups (ERGs) that help create safe, open environments for personal and professional growth for everyone. In addition, we also are passionate about promoting diversity not just at HubSpot, but within our global community. Through our ERGs, we host programming in our offices to provide a forum to have a dialogue around current issues impacting individuals in our communities and the workplace.

For example, McKinsey’s recent Women in the Workplace 2018 report revealed that women continue to be underrepresented in leadership – and that gap is even larger for women of color. That’s why HubSpot and female leaders of color from different industries are coming together for a candid talk about why this gap in leadership exists and how businesses can support and advance the careers of women of color. (Want to join the conversation? You’re invited to! Learn more and register for a spot here.)

5) HubSpot is in an exciting period of incredible growth.

Hubspot 5

As we help businesses grow better, we’re also growing with them all over the the world.

We currently have offices all over the globe in the US (Cambridge, MA and Portsmouth, NH), Dublin, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, and Bogota. We’re opening new offices in locations like Paris and Bogota to meet more communities in these regions and support demand for HubSpot’s software solutions. We’re also expanding our current offices, such as our Dublin and Singapore offices, in order to support our continued growth where we already are.

Looking forward to talking about HubSpot more and seeing our culture in-person at our global headquarters here in Cambridge, MA? Register for your Road Trip spot here!

Last Call for EACE19 Proposals! The Deadline is Friday, November 30th

Time is running out to submit your proposal(s) to present at the 2019 EACE Annual Conference June 24-26 in Hartford, Connecticut. The Programming Committee is looking for session proposals to cover a variety of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Assessment and strategic planning (best practices, new approaches to program assessment, learning outcomes and graduate outcomes)
  • Community colleges and small school best practices
  • Career coaching and counseling best practices
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Marketing and technology
  • Employer relations and recruiting (best practices for HR recruiters and diversity recruiting)
  • University partnerships (faculty/academic and alumni affairs/development partnerships with career centers)
  • Organizational leadership, hiring and/or training best practices

You do not need to be an EACE member. Anyone who has a relevant topic to share is encouraged to submit a proposal! Click here for tips and sample proposals.

Back by popular demand, EACE is offering ONE FREE conference registration (a $659 value!) per accepted break-out session.

For questions, please contact the Annual Conference Programming Committee Co-Chairs: Kristin Eicholtz ( and Gerald Tang (

Click here for more information and to submit your proposal(s).

Aligning Students’ Study Abroad Choices with their Career Interests

By: Chelsea Keen, Penn State University

“What made you choose your study abroad program?”

As a career professional who deeply believes that international experiences can be pivotal for students’ career development, this question is integral for the work I do. I frequently challenge students to consider their motivation for selecting a particular international experience and encourage them to verbalize the skills they gained abroad. The way that students typically respond to this simple inquiry is often a missed opportunity for them to articulate the connection between their global experiences and professional interests.

“My friend told me the country was beautiful.”

Rather than choosing a study abroad program based on specific interests (such as a student’s desire to study business in a global economic hub or to learn how another country approaches public policy), students are often influenced more by their friends than their career interests – more by their #squadgoals than by their #careergoals.

In order to effectively prepare students to market their study abroad experiences to future employers, we should start at the very beginning, before they select their study abroad program. As career professionals, we can partner with our colleagues in education abroad offices to proactively encourage first-year and sophomore students to think intentionally about how they can select an international experience that aligns with their career goals.

Identifying Partners & Opportunities

This Fall, Penn State offered its first workshop – which can be readily adapted for other institutions – to prepare students for the Education Abroad Fair. It was strategically titled “Study Abroad and Your #CareerGoals” to begin connecting the two subjects in students’ minds. By bringing together colleagues from college career services offices and education abroad offices, we were able to educate students about how to choose an international experience that could offer skill-building opportunities to enhance their future professional pursuits.

Tailoring the Message for Your Students

The workshop was intentionally designed with the audience of first-year and sophomore students in mind – many of whom are in the beginning stages of exploring both their study abroad options and their career interests. For this reason, we broadly introduced the professional value of international experiences and the marketable skills they could develop abroad – including adaptability, cross-cultural communication, and problem-solving skills, to name a few.

Next, we provided an overview of the types of study abroad opportunities available to Penn State students, and we highlighted several opportunities students should consider in order to develop valuable skills – such as living in a homestay, taking classes at a local university, or pursuing an international internship.

Making it Click

The workshop culminated with an interactive activity that prompted students to identify 1) their area of professional interest 2) the relevant skills they want develop abroad, and 3) which types of study abroad programs they could pursue to develop those professional skills. This activity prepared students to explore potential programs that aligned with their career interests at the Education Abroad Fair or through their own research.

Challenging students to choose a study abroad program that aligns with their career interests not only offered students a new, intentional way of considering their international experiences, but it also provided a valuable opportunity for cross-departmental collaboration. By capitalizing on the expertise of our university partners and proactively supporting our students before they study abroad, we can better equip them to maximize the career benefits of their global experiences.

Chelsea Keen, M.Ed., is a career coach at Penn State University, specializing in promoting professional development through international experiences. She is passionate about empowering students to identify and articulate the valuable, unique skills they bring to the table.  

Top 5 Reasons for Employers to Join EACE

By Zoe Makropoulos, Rutgers University

Calling all recruiters and employer partners! We’ve all been bombarded with a growing amount of professional organizations to join. But how do we really know which of these is worth our time? How do we know if one is a better fit than another? What are we really looking to get out of a professional organization? To all those questions, EACE may just be the answer we’ve been looking for. EACE, formally known as the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, offers a vast variety of professional resources and opportunities to connect to students and career services teams all with a regionally tailored audience. But let’s get down to what we really want to know, here are the top 5 reasons why you should join EACE:


  1. Connection to wide variety of regional schools!

EACE gives a one stop shop to connect with over 250 schools from Main to Virginia and everywhere in between. The organization has grown to over 1500 members over the years and includes representation from 2 year and 4 year colleges. Through EACE employers have found an ideal way to make connections with schools in their recruiting territories covering the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions. In addition to the EACE Annual Conference , EACE offers employers the opportunity to host Professional Exchanges at their offices to give career services representatives the chance to see first-hand what your company is all about!


  1. The best bang for your buck!

In comparison to other professional organizations, EACE offers an affordable membership package. Individual employer packages are $140 annually and group membership is $625 for an UNLIMITED amount of members. While it is not required to be a member to attend the EACE Annual Conference, members do receive reduced rates.  In addition, members receive exclusive access to a variety of resources (see reason number 4 for resource details).


  1. Opportunities to engage directly with students!

EACE offers several ways to connect directly with students from all of our member schools.  One of the most notable programs coordinated is the Road Trips to the Real World. Similar to professional exchanges, employers are able to open up their doors to EACE member school students for a day to see what your company is all about. This signature program has been connecting students and employers for over 15 years!


  1. A wealth of resources at your fingertips!

With the membership package, companies who join EACE can obtain access to our online employer resource center which covers a variety of trending topics in the recruiting field. In addition, EACE hosts webinars with industry professionals which offer flexibility to those unable to travel.  Community members can also tune into the EACE blog and monthly Twitter chats to see updates and hear from their fellow members.


  1. Receive HRCI & SHRM credit

As an added bonus, many of our recruiting and employer partners who attend the EACE Annual Conference receive HRCI and/or SHRM credit while attending conference workshops. Each year the conference covers a wide variety of topics and professional development opportunities. The EACE 2019 Conference will be held in Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center from June 24-26. We hope to see you there and at future EACE events!


“Zoe Makropoulos is a Program Coordinator at the Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick. As a recent alumni of RBS, she was active in the Career Management department as an undergraduate intern for nearly 3 years. Following graduation she joined the team full time and loves the fact that she is able to pay it forward to the Rutgers community that provided her with so many opportunities. Outside of the office Zoe is currently pursuing her Masters in Human Resource Management, teaches traditional Greek folk dance and loves to watch movies.”

Do you know a Digital Champion? The Deadline for Nominations is Nov. 15th!

Hello EACE Colleagues,

Greetings from one of your Spring Digital Champions! Before I brag about this fantastic opportunity, I want to share a bit about my own digital journey.

Launch Pad: EACE 2016, Philadelphia, PA, Newcomers Breakfast.

Setting: As newcomers were greeted at the door, it was requested of us to sit at a table labeled with a placard of an area of interest that you want to explore. I sat at a table with a jovial, energetic colleague, who warmly welcomed me.

Launch: @PatrickYoung, through his #TechnologySpeak and engagement around the breakfast table thrust me into a digital world that I dared not to embark on before. Of course, @Patrick Young had some friends that continued to encourage me to join the Technology Committee. Though “technology challenged”, @AmySmith and @RachelWobrak encouraged me to sign-up. Rachel then quelled my angst and guided me as I tackled my first major digital challenge- a Twitter chat.

Well, I’ve come a long way since that initial @PatrickYoung experience. I am thankful for the Spring Digital Champion recognition. Getting a “gold star” for my digi-efforts is significant. Although I’m not a digi-wizard, I am thrilled and humbled to have my efforts in this area acknowledged. With this said, I welcome each of you to the #EACE Digital Champions initiative!

Each quarter, the Technology Committee recognizes those who utilize technology in new or innovative ways, are new to technology, but going full-force, or those who are engaging the EACE community through exceptional social media use.

If you know an EACE member who is doing great things in this digital age, we want to hear about it. The online nomination form is simple to fill out and the process is as easy as 1- 2- 3. The champion selected, will be recognized by the EACE community and the nominee AND nominator both win $25 Amazon e-gift cards!

The deadline for the Fall Digital Champion is fast approaching. November 15th is the deadline, so the time to acknowledge those exceptional digi-efforts is now. Thank you, in advance, for your participation in this #EACEExciting effort.


Warm regards,


Alicia Monroe, Ed.D.

Rowan University

#EACE Digital Champions Sub-Committee



On the Spot (Science Industry Prep)

by Shirley Farrar, Rowan University

The ON THE SPOT campaign is always in preparation for our next ‘Big Event” at the Office of Career Advancement at Rowan University. I was privileged to create and design the 1st Annual Science Industry Event on October 3, 2018, and to partner with the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM), and the American Chemical Society Club (ACSC). Our
efforts to provide our underrepresented science students and alumni an opportunity to network exclusively with 13 prominent science employers specifically hiring, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemical Engineering. Inside the state of the art Jean & Ric Edelman Planetarium, employers were afforded the opportunity to present a PowerPoint
presentation to students. With our limited marketing, this 1st Science Industry Event, yielded approximately 200 students. This was a great day for our students, which has reflected popularly on LinkedIn.

Prior to the event, I tried hurriedly to meet with my CSM students, to discuss mock interview questions, and to prep resumes. However, the planned science event was in haste to arrive, and there wasn’t enough time to prep and to meet all students. Being a part of a career center, always planning our next ‘Big Event’, the ON THE SPOT campaign partnered with the Chemistry and Physics advisors. If we were going to have our science student’s network with prominent employers, then we assuredly better equip them for the event. This process involved providing the convenience of Speed Walk-In days, for Advising and Career Counseling. There were two additional specialized Science Industry Prep days for resume critique which included the 30-Second Elevator Pitch.

Students were very curious about the ‘concept’ of the 30-Second Elevator Pitch derived, and I was obliged to tell them the anecdote. In 1852, an American Engineer, Elisha Graves Otis, invented a ‘locking system’ called an elevator pitch’. This device was used to catch and secure any elevator from plunging straight into the ground (NIHF, 2016). This same concept, “catch and secure”, is used in a career concept, “to catch the attention of the potential employer and to secure a networking opportunity”. This concept is being used to assist higher education students, particularly at Rowan University, and universally it’s called the “30-Second Elevator Pitch”. There is always a 50/50 split, of students believing this tale.

Previously in *Fall 2018, EACE, ON THE SPOT blog, I mentioned that I’m constantly reflecting on the data and preparing for the next year’s campaign. As a career counselor, in the Office of Career Advancement, we recognize the necessity for students to attend events such as workshops, career fairs, and industry events. More important they help to
engage our students with the career information we’ve provided them. Our career workshops are based on theory, framework, and concepts; in order to promote life planning, decision making strategies, career knowledge, and inner development to perform to one’s personal potential (Williams, 2012).

I’m very proud that our Rowan University students continue to remind me of my purpose at the university level. I look forward to “engaging with students, understanding and meeting their needs, and partnering with them on their college to career journey”. Thank you to all the ACS Club volunteers, participants of the 1st Science Industry event, who continue to inspire me with ideas to help my higher education community.
In the next few months ON THE SPOT campaign will expand its territory by partnering with several science organizations, advisors, and establish across campus collaborations. This process of discovery has intrigued me.

Shirley Farrar is a Career Counselor for the Office of Career Advancement at Rowan University. She has over ten years of community and faith-based advisement experience, a Bachelor degree in Psychology, a Masters in Higher Education in Administration, and a Masters in Counseling in Educational Settings. Shirley has a published thesis entitled Motivations for participation in adult education of predominately African Americans in a religious organization, in addition to an action research thesis entitled On The Spot Career Readiness Awareness. She is currently working on community consultation and education through a New Jersey 501C3 nonprofit organization.

NIHF, (2016) National Inventors Hall of Fame, Retrieved October 16, 2018
COLLEGE STUDENT RETENTION, Vol. 13(1) 37-62, 2011-2012

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