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EACE Member Spotlight: “We Are EACE” – Meet Lauri Blessing, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

EACE has been asking new members to share some fun facts about themselves. Here we get to know Lauri Blessing

What do you do in your current position?
At HU, I work as the Experiential Learning Coordinator. In this role, I serve as the direct point of contact for all undergraduate students, specifically as it relates to experiential learning. At HU, all students are required to complete 13 credits of experiential learning, which includes four seminars, two projects, and one internship. I teach one of the seminar courses to second year students as well as, advise, review, and approve project and internship contracts for all students wishing to complete their Project I, Internship, or Project II.

Where are you originally from?
Mechanicsburg, PA

Where do you live now?
Still live in Mechanicsburg, PA

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?
Some of my favorite things to do outside of HU include coaching field hockey, exercising, taking my dog on walks, traveling with family & friends, and just being adventurous.

Why do you do what you do?
I love working with young adults as they begin their career journeys. My journey was not as straight as I thought it would be, so I love the opportunity to assist students as they forge their own paths to find their niches and passions.

What is your educational background?
Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Science Education; Master of Arts in Higher Education – both from Messiah College.

What was your first job?
Teaching a Child Development course and a Culinary Essentials course to 9-12th graders.

What is the best advice you ever received?
Nothing worthwhile happens in your comfort zone – outside of your comfort zone is where the real learning and growth occurs!

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?
Obtaining experience and knowledge is a process and there are plenty of opportunities and individuals to learn from, so long as you form relationships, show up, and never stop learning.

What is something that might surprise us about you?
I am in my first, full-time position within Higher Education and would love the opportunity to meet as many EACE colleagues as possible to get to know and learn from them! Coffee, anyone?

 

 

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Extreme Career Fair Planning: Tips for Schools and Employers When Your City Resembles a Snow Globe on the Big Day

By Tiffany J. Franklin, Associate Director, University of Pennsylvania Career Services

After 19 years of coordinating roughly two career fairs per year, I’ve experienced a variety of weather conditions from those crisp fall days that define the season, to sweltering heat, and unrelenting rain storms. As any event planner knows, you must expect the unexpected and adapt accordingly. Rain – no problem! Provide umbrella bags, extra mats, and ensure no one slips. Heat – bring in extra water and fans. Bitter cold – order more coffee and plenty of coat racks. But snow, that’s another story. For me it inspires awe and dread.

My History with Snow

To understand my complicated relationship with snow I must share that I grew up in Atlanta, a place where we were more likely to contend with ice and I can only remember about 5 snowfalls during my whole childhood. In each case, I had about a week off from school due to weather. I still associate that first snowy morning with waiting in line at Kroger at 6am, feeling lucky to have scored a loaf of bread, eggs and milk, as if some French toast making contest had suddenly overtaken suburban Atlanta. To this day, my mom in Florida still calls to ensure I have enough food when snow is forecast. Moving up to Philly during grad school changed my perception of snow. While I still think it’s beautiful, it’s not quite as magical when you must commute in it. And then, it really became interesting this past February.

The past couple of years I’ve worked in a team of three to manage the annual Penn Startup Fair held in February. Planning any event that time of year in the northeast is always a gamble, but my heart sank when I looked at my iPhone weather app 10 days before the event and saw a snowflake for February 9th in the extended forecast. I rationalized it away, thinking of how that forecast is constantly changing, but that was one persistent snowflake that kept taunting me and never budged. I’ve been to a few fairs with light snowfall that did not disrupt anything, but this time felt different. Two days before the event the weather forecasters assured us snow was on the way and it was scheduled for right at morning rush hour.

When things don’t go according to plan

That’s when the well-oiled machine that is our typical career fair planning took a few detours. Since the event was scheduled for 11am to 3pm, my colleagues and I worked on contingency plans to anticipate possible last-minute cancellations from employers traveling in for the day and what we would do with all the food if the university closed. The morning of the startup fair, the snow began falling rapidly at 6am and that’s when the world resembled a snow globe. News of canceled flights and trains poured in my inbox. Later that hour, we learned from the University Weather line that Penn would have a delayed opening of noon. That made things especially tricky because we were not able to access our event space until first thing that morning since there had been an event the night before and employers usually started arriving at 9am. We debated whether to cancel the event, but after numerous calls and emails with my team, our leadership, a few employers, and the caterers, the fair was still on, only slightly delayed. As long as we could safely hold the event, we didn’t want students and the employers who had already traveled here to miss out on connecting.

Thankfully, we had the number of the building manager and got in around 9:30am and quickly arranged everything. By noon, the sun came out and melted a great deal of the morning snow. Despite the chaos of cancelled flights, trains, and snowy conditions, the startup fair proceeded and we had about 75% attendance from both employers and students compared to prior years, which we were grateful for given the unique circumstances.

Tips for navigating your event when weather does not cooperate

As we approach another Philly winter, I’d like to share some tips I learned from this experience for other career services staff and employers attending.

Career Centers

  • Using a Career Fair App makes a big difference. For the past two years, we have used Career Fair+ and it made it easy to send out a push notification to students and employers the morning of the fair with the latest updates and throughout the day.
  • When it looks like bad weather is coming, send preemptive messages the day before. We sent students messages via Facebook, Twitter, the Career Fair+ app, and through our website and newsletters letting everyone know about the weather forecast and that the university would be open unless the university MELT line said otherwise. For employers, we sent individual emails to the person who registered for the fair and all potential attendees.
  • This past summer we launched Handshake, so that’s another great tool for quick notifications to students and employers.
  • The day of the fair we sent a newsletter emails and app push notifications letting students know the event would proceed.
  • When bad weather is forecast, call caterers a few days before the event to explore options. We were able to reduce our food order by 20% since it was 2 days before the fair and we had a system of backup vouchers from the building food court in case the snow never materialized and we ran short.
  • Ask the contact at your venue for all the numbers of their staff and about their weather contingency plan. Our main contact was not able to make it in, but having the building manager’s number really helped.
  • See about mats and extra salt or sand for entrances to ensure the safety of everyone with ice and snow.
  • Check with UPS and FedEx to confirm if shipments are still being picked up in the weather.
  • Have the cell phone numbers of your who career fair planning team, your leadership team, and any student volunteers. Have a sense of where people are coming from geographically and which ones might not be able to make it in to the university in the case of bad weather. Have backups lined up who live closer.
  • Email yourself important contact sheets so you can access them from home if the university is closed and you need to reach out to employers with instructions.
  • For employers who can’t make it due to snow, we collected resumes on their tables.

 Employers

  • Always provide your name, email, and phone to the organizers of a fair, even if you are a last-minute substitution. Oftentimes the person filling out the fair registration will write TBD when it comes to extra reps. In the example above, we had worked hard the week before the fair to get contact info from all projected attendees. At the time, we did this to check about head counts for catering and food allergies, but it became a crucial detail the morning of the storm to let all employers know about the delayed opening.
  • Check to see if a university has a weather line with the latest closing info.
  • See if the city having the event has snow emergency routes. Philadelphia does and some of the major streets that usually allow parking do not during snow emergencies so the ploughs can clear everything. Parking in wrong place could get you towed. See if there’s a weather text notification system for that city with info and maps.
  • Make sure you have the contact info of the fair organizers. It should be on the invitation, confirmation, and every email about the fair.
  • See if the event has an app associated with it – that’s a great real-time way to learn more and usually where the latest updates are listed.

 

Fortunately, it took almost 20 years for me to experience this snow craziness. While I don’t relish the thought of another snowfall during an event, I now have a better idea about where to begin. Even if you live in warmer climates that don’t see much snow, it’s always a good idea to have contingency plans in place that focus on communication and safety for everyone. Hope your events go well and you will never have to use those contingency plans.

Tiffany Franklin joined the University of Pennsylvania Career Services team in 2014 as Associate Director and provides career and internship guidance to engineering students and alumni. Prior to coming to Penn, Tiffany served as a recruiter on the technology team of an international staffing company and submitted candidates to top companies in Silicon Valley. From 2006 to 2013, Tiffany worked at Vanderbilt University in the Center for Student and Professional Development. In that role, she coached Arts, Media and Communications students, coordinated the Vandy-in-Hollywood summer internship program and traveled throughout the country meeting with engineering alumni. Tiffany launched her career in 1998 at Drexel University, where she advised students on all aspects of their co-op and job searches. She is dedicated to helping students explore career options, craft resumes/cover letters that effectively highlight their experience and tell their professional story in a way that resonates with recruiters.  Tiffany earned her M.S.Ed. in Psychological Services from Penn’s Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University.

Creating Mutually Beneficial Partners Between Colleges and Employers

By Ethan Selinger, Northeastern University, College of Computer and Information Science

In my brief time as a career services professional, I have worked in employer relations at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, and currently work as a Cooperative Education (Co-op) Advisor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. A critical component of these positions is employer relations; creating meaningful partnerships between school and employer. After all, the employer/college partnership is the lifeblood of experiential opportunities for students. It is vital that colleges create meaningful partnerships with employers to create internship, co-op, and potential full and part-time time opportunities for students; likewise, connecting with colleges can provide access to a talent pool of newly trained and eager young professionals for employers to both hire for short term (internship/co-op) or full time employment. With work so important to the experiences of students and employers, I oftentimes wonder and reflect on how people and institutions (including myself of course) can continue to improve both the quality and quantity of employer relationships.

Through my short-time as a career services professional, I have found the following practices create the best chance of a successful partnership between colleges and employers, and do my best to implement these in my work.

Research the Company
It is vital that a company’s industry, mission, and opportunities reflect the needs of students, and that the institution’s programs of study match employer needs. Researching a company before reaching out (or if a representative reaches out) is essential in creating a mutually beneficial partnership.

Understand a relationship must be mutually beneficial to both the school and employer
It sounds obvious, but working in college career services (at least in my experience), it’s possible to become so focused on creating opportunities for students and the institution that it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that employer relations is a two-way street- a mutually beneficial relationship between an institution and an employer relies on the needs of both parties being effectively met. One of the greatest aspects of being involved with EACE is the ability to work hand in hand with employer members and gain perspective.

Create a Welcoming Environment
From an initial phone call, to use of database’s, to on-campus events, it is the job of career services professionals to create a welcoming environment for employers. It shouldn’t be difficult for an employer to work with an institution; many companies and talent acquisition specialists work with large numbers of institutions. In my experience, the more difficult it is for an employer to connect with an institution, the better the chance of losing that relationship. The process should be as streamlined as effectively as possible to create talent pipelines; be mindful of recruiting cycles, user friendly technology (i.e. job boards), and time-friendly events.

Network
Studies show that networking is by far the greatest method to finding a job. I make sure to tell my students this all the time in their co-op search. Network network network! I feel the same about creating partnerships with employers. Leaving the confines of the campus is essential. Taking advantage of networking events (such as conferences) as a college representative is vital to meeting new employers. EACE offers events and opportunities throughout the year to connect employers and institutions!

Be Mindful of Employment Trends and Changes
It’s the 21st century, and industry needs constantly shift. Creating mutually beneficial partnerships relies on an institution’s ability to prepare students for the changing needs of employers. Even though career services alone (at least as far as I know) cannot change curriculums throughout an institution, it is still important to understand trends and changes. I’m trying to make it a habit to read up on trends, continually connect with my employer contacts (in and outside of EACE) and take advantage of yearly trends conferences in the Boston area to stay informed.

I want to pose these questions for thought from both college and employer members: What are your best practices for creating mutually beneficial partnerships? What are your thoughts for continued improvement?

Ethan Selinger is currently a Cooperative Education (Co-op) Advisor at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science.

EACE Niagara Through the Eyes of a Newcomer

By Mary Edwin, M.S., NCC

It all began with an email. I’m usually one of those people who deletes promotional emails without reading them – I’ll read the subject line and if it doesn’t seem pertinent, well, delete. I also hate having unread emails in my inbox, so I’m frequently in there, reading and deleting. I don’t know what it was about this particular email; actually, I do. I think it said scholarship in the subject line. Who doesn’t stop to read an email if something free is involved? I remember receiving the email for the EACE scholarship from my supervisor and doubting my qualifications for the scholarship.

After much thought, I realized that I definitely qualified and was eager to network with come career services professionals. After all, my previous conference experiences have either been with school counselors or counselor educators. I recognized that the EACE conference would be an amazing growth opportunity and I quickly began gathering my application materials for the scholarship.

I was happy when I received the EACE Diversity and Inclusion scholarship but if I knew what was in store for me at Niagara Falls, I think happy would have been more along the lines of excited or ecstatic. My Niagara experience began with me driving straight from the airport to the Newcomers Lunch and that event set the tone for the whole conference.

I had lunch with some great people who made me feel welcome. I think knowing that we were all newcomers made it easier to talk to people and get to know one another without feeling left out or awkward. The semi-formal atmosphere of the Newcomers Lunch made it easy to talk about professional and personal lives with colleagues, plus, the food was kind of awesome!

The rest of the weekend seemed like a whirlwind from this point. The Make Them love You keynote by Jodi Glickman was absolutely enlightening—she totally changed the way I craft my professional and personal emails. My biggest takeaway was the value of respecting other people’s time and how the way we communicate with others conveys how much we respect their time. Next was the exhibitor showcase where I discovered great apps, software and tools that I planned to recommend to my department.

Thursday morning began with a coffee date with my mentor which was awesome. Being set up with a mentor was one of my favorite aspects of the scholarship. It was great to have someone to answer questions about the organization, the conference and various opportunities. Breakfast with other EACE members was equally awesome—I had the opportunity to talk to some employers about their perspective on the job search process and picked up some tips for my future clients. Through breakout sessions I gathered resources for my students, new ideas for programs and events and built new connections.

If I had to describe the EACE atmosphere in a  few words, it would be “warm and welcoming”. Each time I spoke to a colleague, there were words of wisdom, tips for career and professional growth and making plans for social gatherings! It certainly didn’t hurt that the conference was in gorgeous Niagara. I learned so much from this experience and I can’t wait to be in Virginia next year!

Mary Edwin is a Ph.D. candidate and a Graduate Career Counselor at the Bank of America Career Services Center at Penn State.

Big Changes Ahead Thanks to EACE

By Joanna Craig, Eastern University

Entering my first summer as Assistant Director for Talent and Career Development at Eastern University, I had a head full of ideas and a to-do list a couple pages long. I was looking forward to attending the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, an opportunity only available to me thanks to receiving an EACE Professional Development Grant, to network with colleagues and learn strategies to more effectively accomplish my goals. Imagine my surprise when I left EACE having scrapped pretty much that entire to-do list. Instead, the conference was the catalyst for a major shift in the way our office will function, and I left with a whole new set of ambitious, but attainable, objectives and a concrete plan for moving ahead.

My office is small – just two full-time career development staff and an administrative assistant we share with two other departments. We service the entire university, including current students and recent alumni. With limited resources but no shortage of creativity and devotion to our students’ success, my Director Sarah Todd and I are always looking for ways to do more with less. We were thrilled to see a session on the schedule called “Digital Disruption: Designing a Scalable Service Delivery Model” presented by Kevin Monahan, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Carnegie Mellon University. The description shared that Carnegie Mellon had found itself struggling with “growing demand for services and no additional funding or staffing planned” — sounds familiar!

Joanna 2I grabbed a seat in the Red Jacket room and listened as Kevin described the very same challenges that I was experiencing in my own school. Was it really the best use of my time to discuss resume margin size with each student one-on-one day after day? And in an age where even your banking can be done from an app on your phone 24 hours a day, how do we best provide information to our students in a way they will actually access? Kevin explained how their career office increased its digital presence providing short videos that students could watch at their own convenience (including the middle of the night!) to support the career education provided by their counselors. Requiring students to come to meetings already armed with the basics optimizes counselors’ time with students by advancing the conversations to higher-ordered topics. Hearing how successful this strategy had been for Carnegie Mellon was incredibly motivating, and just a month after EACE, we have already started planning and preparing our own videos!

With a new plan in place to better use technology and increase our digital presence, my Director and I stopped by the exhibitor room to see what products might be in our budget to further our efforts. We already had Symplicity but had heard great things about the relatively new platform, Handshake. We had the opportunity to talk to representatives from Handshake that shared with us ways that we could streamline and improve our employer relations, reaching Fortune 500 companies we would not otherwise be able to reach with such a small staff. The all-in-one system would also simplify our appointment scheduling and first destination survey distribution. And perhaps most importantly, the user-friendly system has been shown to increase student engagement with the job board. After taking another critical look at our budget and a little negotiating, we were able to find a way to allocate funds for Handshake; we signed the contract shortly after returning from EACE.

Thanks to the sharing of ideas and connections I made at EACE, I am confident our office is going to see incredible improvements in efficiency, student engagement and customer satisfaction. I am so incredibly grateful to have received a Professional Development Grant to make the trip possible. I should mention that EACE wasn’t all work, though. I had the opportunity to meet new people, get to know colleagues better, and network with so many interesting people – the EACE crew was so friendly and welcoming! We tried out local restaurants together, watched fireworks over the falls and enjoyed letting loose on the dance floor at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. EACE was both incredibly productive and fun and I hope I get the opportunity to attend in 2018!

Joanna Craig was awarded a Professional Development Grant to attend the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.  She is the Assistant Director for Talent & Career Development at Eastern University.

EACE: Friendly, Helpful Professionals

By Carol Youngs

I discovered EACE while researching professional development organizations as part of a segment during an internship course while enrolled at Buffalo State’s Higher Education Student Affairs Administration Master’s program.  Our assignment was to find organizations which aligned with our goals.  Coming from a business management, human resources, adult programming background with interest and experience in career counseling and events management, EACE seemed a good fit.  Attendance at the Niagara Falls June 2017 conference only reinforced that belief.

Reading through the various topics offered at the June conference, I was like a kid in a candy store.  Which one to attend?  They all sounded great.  Each session I attended had something to offer and the networking seemed effortless as each professional I encountered had an interesting story to share and helpful suggestions.  A theme found in many of the break-out sessions was the need for innovative career programming.  We learned that many of the housekeeping initiatives (resume review, talks on career topics) can now happen online, accessed at student convenience.  Happily, another trend stipulates the value of student exposure to the career center from day one of their undergraduate college experience.  As colleges are being held more accountable for student outcomes, working cross-silo to help student’s discover their vocational passion has never been more important and ideas to enhance this relationship were discussed.

I particularly enjoyed meeting others during mealtimes, exchanging stories and ideas.  And, in a perfect example of experiencing work / life balance, the final night with a DJ was a particular treat.  Line dancing to music from a scene in a favorite movie, 1999’s The Best Man Wedding, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w2Anvecs6s) was a lot of fun.

I could not have attended the conference without the Professional Development Grant; much thanks to the EACE Board and leadership team for allowing me this valuable opportunity.

I graduated May 2017 and have interest and experience in career counseling / advisement initiatives and seek a higher education position on the East Coast.   Once settled, I look forward to exploring EACE service opportunities.

Carol Youngs was a recipient of a 2017 Professional Development Grant.  She attended the EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY in June 2017.

Cheers to 20 Years!

By Tracey Hanton, Community College of Philadelphia

 

It was a great opportunity to attend this year’s conference and being awarded a grant to do so. My department rarely has any funds for professional development so when my former Dean made it possible for me to attend last year in Philadelphia, it seemed that in order for me to go applying for the grant would be the best way to defray the cost since it was such a distance. When I informed my new Director, that I had received the grant she was pleased with my initiative and located monies to assist as well. What motivated me to want to attend again? First, I had met such fantastic colleagues the year before and I wanted to see them again. Second, I have never been to Niagara Falls and it seemed like an opportune time to go! Third, since it was my first time serving on a committee, it seemed like I should be there.  I was glad to have been awarded the scholarship to attend.

I arrived on the 20th so that I could be relaxed for our early morning community service at Worksource. The early arrival gave me an opportunity to walk around the area beforehand and scout out places to eat!

On Wednesday, I participated in the community service project. It was a great experience being at WorkSource in Niagara! I got to work with colleagues from various colleges and universities, most were new to the conference. I recommend to anyone who can participate to do so, it is a great way to meet conference attendees and also help the community that you are visiting. Even though it’s only a couple of hours, I think it is impactful to the attendees. We facilitated a workshop on Networking; helped participants develop elevator pitches and answered career related questions. I assisted a gentleman on developing his own brand for a company/organization that he wanted to launch.

Jodi Glickman kicked off the conference with a new perspective and energized us to continue moving forward. I even had an opportunity to chat with her a bit during the networking reception.

Niagara RapidsThursday was an educationally packed day. But before the day got started many of us took a nice walk to the Falls! Simply breathtaking! What a way to get charged up for the many workshops that would await us. The topics ranged from working with international students to tips on how to become a Director. There was something for everyone! Even things that one may not have been thinking about. It was also a chance to gather with like-minded professionals and exchange some best practices with each other.

It surely was not all work- because we got to tour the Culinary Institute! What a fabulous place and of course, we danced into the night while eating pastries made by the students. It was a great way to unwind after the jam packed day we had in sessions.  I had an opportunity to tour the area with some other colleagues. Our tour guide was fun and energetic and we met a lovely couple from Australia and even though it was a rain soaked day we enjoyed the tour!

I have already begun implementing some of the information that I gathered from the conference. I cannot possibly put everything that I learned in this blog but I hope that I gave you a picture of what to expect from this conference. I am excited about Reston, VA 2018!!

Tracey Hanton is a recipient of a 2017 EACE Professional Development Grant.  She was able to attend the 2017 EACE Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.

Niagara Fall-ing for EACE, the Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Ally Strang, M.Ed.

Just before my last semester of graduate school, I spoke with one of the co-chairs of the Diversity & Inclusion committee to discuss my interest in getting involved. Eventually, our conversation turned to the 2017 EACE Conference. Despite my desire to attend, I knew that it wasn’t realistic to expect to be able to do so this year. After graduating, I knew I would be leaving my two GA positions, thus losing a major source of income. I painfully admitted that I couldn’t afford it, and then she shared a magical idea: the Professional Development Grant. My outlook became cautiously optimistic, but I was also ready for a break after a hectic semester. I decided I would apply “later” and promptly forgot as I began to make holiday plans.

On Christmas Eve, I was sitting in front of the Christmas tree at my overnight job, where I work with youth in a residential setting. As I sat there, I was lost in thought until I suddenly remembered the grant. I wasn’t sure if it was too late, but I quickly pulled together my application and sent it in anyway. Perhaps it would be a Christmas miracle, I reasoned.

By the time my final semester was in full swing, the grant was far from my mind. I was so busy with my capstone e-portfolio that I could think of nothing else. However, one day when I was on my way home from my GA position, it was unseasonably warm. Despite the stress I was feeling about homework, the upcoming Career Fair, job searching, and graduation, this put me in good spirits. The traffic was terrible, so I decided to check Ally EACEmy email before I left the parking lot. I was shocked to see an email with “Professional Development Grant” in the subject line. I held my breath as I opened it. When I learned that I had received the grant, I had to re-read the email a few more times. I was speechless. The impossible had just happened and I was going to Niagara Falls for the EACE Conference!

Before I knew it, it was June and my suitcase was packed for my 480-mile journey to Niagara Falls. The views were beautiful, there was no traffic, and my excitement made the trip fly by. When I arrived, my first order of business was a walk to the Falls. Everything until then had been surreal, but I was struck with awe as I looked over the railing. At that moment, I fully absorbed that I was actually going to begin my conference experience within 24 hours at the Newcomer’s Lunch.

EACE NewcomerThe next three days were a blur. I was stunned by the generosity of the professionals I connected with and I couldn’t wait to start using the ideas I learned from the breakout sessions. The keynote with Jodi Glickman was a great fit for me and I learned specific ways to become indispensable in a new position. My favorite breakout session “So, You Want To Be A Director?” supplemented the ideas of the keynote perfectly, helping me envision my long-term path to a leadership role. In addition to clarifying strategies for my prof  essional development, I learned about creating value for employer partners, best practices in assessment, and diversity initiatives. By participating in the conference’s planned networking activities, I was directly referred to several positions that weren’t even posted onNiagara topline yet. As a result, my job search was completely re-energized.

On top of all the great conference activities, I enjoyed fireworks over the Falls, ate delicious food, and explored the Niagara Falls area. The Professional Development Grant made it possible for me to launch my career on a high note, preparing me with connections, best practices, and positivity. My Christmas Eve application had turned into the ultimate holiday gift. I am truly grateful for the wonderful folks at EACE for helping me to have this career-changing experience. Thank you, EACE!

Ally Strang is one of the recipients of the Professional Development Grant for 2017.  She used the grant to attend the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY. 

My Niagara Experience with EACE

By Noelle Brown

I have happily been a part of EACE for the past 3 years! My journey with EACE started in Pittsburgh 3 years ago, when my director at the time, Sarah Todd, thought it might be a good idea to submit a presentation to speak at the annual conference. Our presentation was accepted as a speed learning session, and we got to present about our digital badge online class that we created for Eastern University. I left that conference feeling totally refreshed and energized, and it was easily one of the BEST conferences I had ever been to! From the interesting speakers and presentations, to the exciting new exhibitors I hadn’t heard of before, to all the networking activities throughout the 3 days that we were in Pittsburgh, I knew then that I would be returning as an EACE member the following year!

Fast forward to this 2017 conference year, I had made a career transition from working in career development in higher education, to working in Human Resources in a more corporate role. The transition wasn’t an easy one, and I found that it ended up complicating my membership with EACE. I knew without a doubt that I still wanted to be involved with this year’s conference even after making a career move, especially because I had the opportunity this year to co-chair the Newcomer’s/Hospitality committee! With all that being said, I have to give a HUGE thank you to the EACE Board and leadership team for selecting me to receive the Professional Development Grant! It would have been much more difficult for me to get to Niagara this year had it not been for you all!

I truly think this year’s conference was the best one yet! Niagara Falls was the perfect location, and allowed for me to visit a new location I’d never been before! From hosting the Newcomer’s Lunch, to leading the pack for the Walk to the Falls program, to listening to Ali Joyce’s presentation about the Chaos Theory, and of course dancing the night away for Entertainment night at the Culinary Institute with the BEST DJ in the biz -(shout out ‘007!) I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite EACE conferences yet, and I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store!

For next year’s 2018 conference in Reston, VA (my hometown!!!!!) I plan on being involved again in any professional development opportunities offered through EACE, and would like to co-chair another committee! 2018’s conference will be a special one for me, as I was born and raised in Reston, VA and am excited for all the EACE members to get to explore the beautiful city of Reston. There are ample opportunities for employer partnerships, sponsorships, and awesome keynote speakers! Cheers to 20 years one more time, and see you all next year in Virginia!

Noelle Brown was a recipient of a 2017 Professional Development Grant.  She attended the EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY in June 2017.

A Year in Employer Relations: What I’ve Learned

By Kerry Spitze, Assistant Director for Alumni and Employer Relations, Ithica College

In July 2016, I accepted a position as the Assistant Director for Alumni & Employer Relations at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. The world of Employer Relations was completely new territory for me, and I knew I had to do my research.  I learned that understanding unique recruiting needs, methods of facilitating connections between multiple parties, and ensuring quality accommodations are all essential ingredients to successful employer engagement.

So how could I best apply this knowledge? Below are two particular strategies that were the most effective over the past year.

1) Employer Spotlight. With there being so many job/internship opportunities available in Handshake, I wanted to boost student awareness of the organizations recruiting with us as well as provide a low investment opportunity for employers to build their brand on campus. What better way to do this than showcase the organization’s logo? Using a content page on our website, I spotlight multiple logos at a time, rotating them based on when postings expire. This iteration came from trial and error…the most recent campaign in June has been the most successful: a mass email inviting trusted employers in Handshake to participate. To date, there have been 263 Spotlight requests, and more continue to come in each day. A free service, this initiative has resulted in positive feedback and opportunities to further develop employer partnerships.

2) Employer Onsite Visits Quite honestly, stepping into the world of employer relations was overwhelming at first. After a few months, I realized I needed to focus locally. I contacted 37 organizations, requesting an onsite meeting to review recruiting needs and collaboration. I received responses from over half, resulting in 18 total onsite visits (48.6% of the total outreach). Nearly each employer I met with expressed gratitude and genuine excitement that our office had reached out. As a result, there have been meaningful faculty/employer connections made and increased opportunities provided.

Conclusion Even though I was initially a bit timid in reaching out to employers to ask if they would be open to talking about collaboration and partnership, I found the responses to be overwhelmingly positive. Employers want to connect with college students. So, I share my own journey in this field in the effort to provide new employer relations professionals with some practical insight into what I have found to be effective. I invite you to take what is meaningful and apply it within the context of your office/institution, and don’t be afraid to tap into your creativity, experience, and insight to find your own unique stride. You’ll be really pleased with the results!

Read the full article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/year-employer-relations-what-ive-learned-kerry-spitze

REFERENCES:

Contomanolis, M. (2014). Thriving in the brave new world of career services: 10 essential strategies. LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140506212412-2872947-thriving-in-the-brave-new-world-of-career-services-10-essential-strategies

Hanover Research (2014). 21st Century recruiting and placement strategies. Retrieved from http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/21st-Century-Recruiting-and-Placement-Strategies.pdf

Student Affairs Leadership Council (SALC). (2012). Developing Next Generation Career Services: Strategies for Increasing Alumni and Employer Engagement. Washington, DC: The Advisory Board Company.

 

In addition to career development, a key focus of Kerry’s role involves building relationships with key stakeholders to facilitate opportunities.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kerryspitze/

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