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Three Simple Steps to Becoming a Learning Leader at Work.

By Hawley Kane, Head of Organizational Talent and Leadership Development, Saba Software

Have you watched a TED talk lately? Chances are, you’ve clicked one of the popular videos on your LinkedIn or Twitter feed. The TED slogan is “ideas worth spreading.” By sharing an insightful talk about love letters to strangers, neuroscience or the “power pose,” we teach others.

Establishing yourself as a learning leader within your higher-ed organization can start with small steps such as sharing a TED talk, blog post or relevant podcast. Why should we do this? I’d like you to consider that creating a leader-driven learning culture within a higher education institution is a professional responsibility for learning leaders. We should always keep learning—and sharing that learning—whether through off-site trainings, conferences with big-name headliners or free webinars from thought leaders in the industry.

As higher-ed professionals, we should not miss out on development opportunities simply because we’re already in the workforce! We should also proactively seek out opportunities that will help us achieve our career goals. The 2018 Brandon Hall Group report, “The Learning and Performance Link: Making the Connection” found that high-performing organizations develop learning environments that are engaging, accessible, impactful, scalable and relevant. One way organizations can create this type of experience is by delivering personalized learning.

So when you’re ready to take additional steps (and I think you should!), here are three unique ways to position yourself as a learning leader in your higher-ed organization.
Becoming a learning leader: what it’s not
Lucky for all of us, becoming a learning leader isn’t about laboring for weeks over an unwieldy PowerPoint or scheduling multiple meetings with colleagues far and wide. In a large part, what I’m talking about is promoting a culture of learning and sharing. When you enable your people and teams to build new skills and perform at higher levels, you position yourself as a learning leader.


  1. Become friends with microlearning

We’ve all done it: we travel to a conference and take great notes, only to shove them into our notebooks when we get back, never to look at them again. The next time you listen to a keynote and think, “I need to tell my team all of this good stuff,” commit to writing a short blog post sharing your learning. Write it in the hotel room or on the plane back home while your thoughts (and enthusiasm) are still fresh.


When you get back, share your blog on your own learning management system (LMS), Slack channel or company intranet so that your colleagues can read it and learn anytime, anywhere. Why not submit the post to your internal newsletter or revamp it for an industry magazine? You could also ask for ten minutes at the end of a team meeting to share your findings, which will position you as a leader and allow you to practice presentation skills. The sky’s the limit when it comes to microlearning.

2. Go for a one-to-one or one-to-many approach

If I lost you on my first point, don’t worry. So, writing blog posts and speaking to large groups aren’t your favorite things. It’s okay! Remember to teach to your strengths. Consider hosting a lunch-and-learn and inviting colleagues you think would most benefit from your recap.

Another way to share learning in a more one-on-one manner is to sign up for your organization’s mentorship program. There’s no doubt there is a colleague down the hall (or in another location) who could benefit from your new knowledge. If you want to become known as a learning leader, experiment with different methods, always playing to your strengths.

3. Share information strategically

If you’re lucky, your LMS will allow you to create learning playlists where you can organize and then share content for a particular topic. One-on-one meetings are another excellent place to share information, whether you are a manager or an employee. Remember to make accessing the content you share easy and painless. (Watch how the learning staff at Cornell University made user-friendliness a top priority for their learners.)


Back to those TED talks—some people learn better by watching video. So consider the recipient when sharing information. If you know someone loves words and is a great writer, send them links to articles or tag them when you publish a new post. It doesn’t matter how you share the information, the important thing is that it gets to the people who need it most or who can use it to improve their performance and drive business success.


The world is yours—get going!
We all know the days of structured corporate learning is morphing into self-directed informal learning. Take advantage of this trend in leadership development to position yourself as a learning leader. With new technology and digital tools, it’s even easier than ever to proactively seek out opportunities to increase your knowledge. And once you have that knowledge, make a plan to share it using some of these tips. Before long, you will have established yourself as a learning leader in your organization.


Hawley is head of Organizational Talent and Leadership Development at Saba Software. As the OD leader at a talent management provider, she has the unique opportunity to marry Saba’s ongoing performance, continuous learning and career development strategies with the company’s own cloud solutions and services. Hawley is responsible for global initiatives ranging from onboarding to performance management training and leader development, as well as Saba’s people and team-driven development programs. Before her L&D leadership role, Hawley served as principal product manager at Halogen Software, prior to the company’s acquisition by Saba in 2017. Nearly a decade of experience in working with hundreds of HR and learning leaders to translate their business and user needs into product capabilities has provided her with distinctive insight into her current role.



Ask a Recruiter Series: Kate Mulvey, USLI

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.

KateMulvey - Kate Mulvey

  • Kate Mulvey
  • College Student Program – Team Leader
  • USLI: Wayne (Pa- Home office); Oakbrook (IL); Austin (TX); Mission Viejo (CA); San Ramon (CA); Toronto (Canada)

What should students know about your company when asked about it in an interview?

They should have high-level knowledge of what our company does and what our core values are. We look to hire people that match these values.

What’s your advice to students who are juggling multiple offers?

Make sure they are interviewing the other organizations too. They should choose the opportunity that feels right to them. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

What do you want to hear when you ask a student, “tell me about yourself”?

I am looking to get to know them; and find out who they are since they probably don’t have a lot, if any, professional experience. I’d also like them to share any of their life experiences and how those experiences transfer to a work setting. Students should also be prepared to expand on their responses. And, real-life examples go a long way.

What are the immediate things that would put a student candidate in your “no” pile?

Low energy, lack of effort during the interview, disrespectful

How should students be answering the question, “tell me about a weakness you have”?

We all have weaknesses, so what I’m really looking for is their transparency in their response, and not them trying to mask a flaw. I’m more inclined to respond better to someone who can share a vulnerability than someone who tries to hide one.

How do you recommend students talk about negative work experiences, such as they worked for a boss they did not get along with well?

It’s all in the delivery. What was the issue, how did you respond and handle the situation to make it better, and what did you take away from it that now makes you a better person? Negative things happen, but the delivery can have a positive undertone. Blaming someone else entirely for the situation does not go over well.

What are some things that really impress you during an interview with a student?

Good energy, conversational, positive attitude, candor, respectful, prepared


If you are an EACE member recruiter or someone who works in recruiting, please share your expertise and we’ll feature you on our blog! Fill out our form here.


2019 Board Elections are Open!

2019 Board Elections are Open!

As an EACE member, identifying and promoting leaders among us to serve on the EACE Board of Directors is our duty and responsibility. The future success of our organization is dependent on those who guide our association and make critical decisions on our behalf. All members are asked to vote in the annual elections.

Click on the board positions to review role descriptions and responsibilities and the candidate’s name to review their qualifications and interest in serving. You may check a candidate’s EACE service history by searching the online membership directory and reviewing their public profile.

Open Executive Committee Positions:

Open Non-Executive Committee Positions:
3-year term
Director, Finance
2-year term
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
2-year term
Director, PR & Communications
2-year term
Robbin Beauchamp, Wentworth Institute of Technology Ali Joyce,
Northeastern University
Darlene Johnson,
Hofstra University
Jocelyn Coalter,
St. John’s University
Jennifer Rossi Long,
West Chester University
Dr. Alicia Monroe,
Rowan University

The deadline to submit your vote is Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT.
Questions regarding the 2019 Elections should be directed to Nominations Sub-Committee Chair, Stacy McClelland at

ON THE SPOT Campaign Program: “Nihil novi sub sole”

by Shirley Farrar, Rowan University

One of my colleagues requested clarity of the ON THE SPOT (OTS) program’s purpose in order to market our annual barbecue to participating employers. The Office of Career Advancement (OCA), a.k.a. “Career Hub,” has been offering professional career services since 1992. However, nationally less than 11% of university students utilize their Career Centers. The purpose of OTS is to provide awareness through our resume critiques, workshops, and annual barbecue. Each is part of our program’s marketing strategy, particularly, our end-of-the-year annual barbecue where we market the OCA Career Services to students and alumni by (1) showing our appreciation from the OCA department staff with food, prizes, fellowship, & fun, and (2) to bring awareness of the available career services located at the Glassboro, NJ campus, to increase new student participation.

In this blog post, I’d like to celebrate a past female keynote speaker and president of NACADA, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, who was instrumental to Rowan University’s Career Center, or Career Hub. Mrs. Wriggins was the prior Director Emeritus of Rowan’s Career Hub, which was previously called “Career and Academic Planning Center” in 1992. She was the driving force who initiated the creation of the Glassboro, NJ career center we now know and utilize. This resource started as an all-inclusive Advising and Career Counseling Center just 27 years ago. The recently named Office of Career Advancement (OCA) has had more than five names since Betsy was the Director. Its staff has always been dedicated to helping current students attain positive career outcomes during their four-year degree programs as well as alumni with their lives after graduation.

There is an old Latin phrase “nihil novi sub sole,” which means there is nothing new under the sun. If you wait long enough, ideas are revisited or improved. This concept is important, especially if we have ideas or services that provide positive and significant improvement for individual’s career wellness. I’m certain the 1992 Career Center staff was dedicated and marketed their services to students. In the last two blogs, I discussed the process of the ON THE SPOT (OTS) campaign program. In November 2018, I was led to continue expanding the ON THE SPOT vision, to make students and alumni, aware of the career services offered by the Office of Career Advancement. Since the pilot implementation of this campaign in fall 2016, my program began acquiring surveys and providing resume critiques across the campus first in one location, the Chamberlain Student Center, and has since expanded upon our services within seven academic buildings.

Similar to Betsy’s initial program, our current OCA staff is focused on listening to our students, supporting their career goals, reflecting on the outcome of their 4-year plan, helping student and alumni acquire internships and employment opportunities, showing them that we care about their current and future well-being, and providing meaningful resources to help their life-long vision (Burton and McCalla-Wriggins, 2009). Providing professional career services has always been beneficial to student success. Other than separating advising and career counseling from the same department, “nihil novi sub sole,” there is nothing new under the sun. With our small staff of six addressing career-readiness and our new Feb. 2019 staff addition, plus three implementing employer relations, we remain dedicated. It is uncertain what new changes are on the horizon.

After speaking with my mentors on OTS “Next Steps,” they have encouraged me to reach out to additional departments, staff, faculty, and student groups. In one particular “networking” opportunity and an email discussing Best Practices, there have been new campus partnerships with possibilities starting in summer 2019. Just recently for the spring semester, we have partnered with the College of Education’s undergraduate majors in order to bridge academic and professional development. In addition, opportunities are in development to provide syllabi seminar career-readiness workshops to all our graduate level students in the Higher Education program. This is particularly exciting to me because one of my master’s degrees is in Higher Education in Administration, and my second master’s is in Counseling in Educational Settings.

It is the beginning of 2019 and I’m ready to unleash my time management skills, as opportunities and projects continue to take on a life of their own. As I reach out across the Glassboro campus, I am not alone at the OCA at Rowan University. Our efforts within the past three years have increased student’s participation at the OCA approximately between 3-5% of our 14-18,000 students, even though NACE 2017 reports nationally that career centers at the university level are underutilized by less than 11% of the campus population. National numbers may be affected by whether the campus career center is combined with academic advising; ours is not integrated. However, whether we are centralized through assisting all students or decentralized and “don’t confer credits nor work for specific departments” (NACE, 2017), we remain the university’s Career Hub. It remains our responsibility as staff, faculty, career counselors, advisors, mentors, and administrators since 1992 to increase student participation at the career center. This is particularly important, because students are more likely to be successful if they visit their campus career centers (GALLUP, 2017). The OTS will continue to market OCA’s career services, and I’m certain there will be plenty to blog about.

RESOURCES: Betsy McCalla-Wriggins presentation: Burton, D. N., & McCalla-Wriggins, B. (in press, 2009). Integrated career and academic advising programs. In K. Hughey, D. N. Burton, J. Damminger, & B. McCalla-Wriggins (Eds.)The Handbook of Career Advising. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Women of Color in Career Services: Research Findings and Recommendations for Practitioners

By Espie Santiago, CollegeNET & Larry Jackson, Northwestern University

Women of color (WOC) represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce (Catalyst, 2018). Additional research from Catalyst (2018) and recent articles from USA Today (2017) and Forbes (2015) discuss the employment landscape and woes for WOC. Yet, little research has addressed the professional aspirations and challenges of WOC in higher education, let alone career services. According to statistics that were collected from NACE for a recent study/presentation, WOC are the least likely to attain senior leadership roles compared to white men and women, and men of color.

 These findings prompted us to investigate the barriers impacting career advancement for WOC in career services, especially since their presence is expected to increase within the field. We spearheaded a study interviewing 15 WOC staff and 21 senior administrators within career services across 30 U.S. institutions. A majority of the participants represented centralized career services offices at four-year institutions with a relatively equal representation of private and public institutions. In addition to collecting demographic information (e.g., gender, ethnicity), respondents shared their work history and challenges they experienced throughout their career. Participants were also asked to give their perceptions on issues impacting WOC in the workplace and to provide suggestions on how the career services field could offer better support. From these discussions, three key findings emerged to bring greater insight to this topic:


  1. WOC staff in career services experience similar challenges as WOC in other industries. Implicit/explicit bias, stereotyping, and tokenism were frequently reported throughout the study, just as these practices have been reported by WOC in other fields by various sources and articles. These negative experiences left lasting impressions on WOC staff within career services resulting in self-image concerns, including imposter syndrome. Some felt the need to minimize their identities to be accepted by colleagues and managers, while questioning their self-efficacy within the workplace.
  2. WOC staff report having many professional strengths beneficial to senior roles within career services. Strong management skills, along with being strategic, inclusive, passionate and relational, were common attributes cited during the interviews. Additionally, having a strong work ethic stood out as one of their greatest characteristics. Yet, WOC believed the latter quality commonly got overlooked by colleagues.
  3. There is a disparity between the obstacles white administrators faced with advancing their careers compared to people of color (POC) in senior administrator positions.   

One-third of the senior administrators interviewed identified as white/Caucasian. When asked about the challenges they experienced with career advancement, many reported that the application process was their greatest hurdle. Concerns over educational requirements, sufficient professional experience, and position availability delayed their ascension to senior level roles. This discovery demonstrated a stark contrast from POC who had to face stereotyping and imposter syndrome along with navigating application requirements.

With these findings revealed, it is important to consider, “What can the career services field do to better support WOC in their professional ambitions?” Below are recommendations to assist staff, administrators, and institutions with creating a more inclusive space for WOC to succeed in their vocational goals:

  1. Provide encouragement and professional support regarding career aspirations. Strive to understand the experiences, goals, and apprehensions of WOC. Verbally affirm their strengths, articulating how they have been an asset to the work of the office, institution, and field. Additionally, support opportunities for WOC to undertake additional projects or responsibilities within or outside the office to enhance their skills. Permitting WOC to have an outlet to grow their skills and experiences shows that you have confidence in their abilities to make a meaningful impact in the workplace.
  2. Establish a mentorship ecosystem. Connect WOC to experienced leaders within higher education to provide greater exposure and knowledge of the administrative landscape and strengthen their professional network. Many WOC staff from the study reported having difficulty with finding professional mentors on their own. Therefore, it is essential that experienced leaders take an active role in introducing WOC to colleagues within the field so they become more informed, visible, and connected as they pursue advancement opportunities.
  3. Actively engage in dismantling systemic barriers within career services to create pathways for career advancement. Vocalize opposition to policies and practices that limit inclusion and equity for WOC within the workplace. Evaluate and enhance the recruitment of WOC into our field and senior roles.


Supporting WOC will be an ongoing conversation as the U.S. workforce becomes more diverse. Yet, with enough knowledge, passion, and purpose to initiate change, we are confident that the career services profession can be a leading force in creating opportunities for WOC to thrive professionally and shine brightly within the field.


Guynn, J. (2017, April 27) Here’s Why Women, Blacks and Hispanics are Leaving Tech. USA Today. Retrieved from

Quick Take: Women of Color in the United States (2018). Retrieved from

Travis, D.J., & Thorpe-Moscon, J. (2018) Day-to-day Experiences of Emotional Tax Among Women and Men of Color in the Workplace. Retrieved from

Tulshyan, R. (2015, Feb. 10) Speaking Up as a Woman of Color at Work. Forbes. Retrieved from


Larry Jackson – Assistant Director for Student Career Advising, Northwestern Career Advancement

Larry Jackson is a career adviser at Northwestern Career Advancement. Throughout his time at Northwestern, Larry has contributed to numerous initiatives on-campus to create inclusive spaces for staff and students within different affinity groups. Larry is actively involved in the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) and the Hire Big 10+ Consortium through leadership positions and committee work. Larry is also a NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award Winner and has presented at Midwest ACE and NASPA regional and national conferences.

Espie Santiago, Director of Employer Relationships, CollegeNET

Espie is passionate about developing an inclusive leadership pipeline for the career services profession. After fifteen years in career education at Stanford University, she joined CollegeNET as Director of Employer Relationships for StandOut®, a video recruitment platform. At Stanford, Espie was Assistant Dean of Career Ventures, overseeing recruiting programs, and Assistant Dean of Career Communities, leading career coaches. She served as NACE 2016-2017 Inclusion Awareness Committee co-chair. Her presentations include, “Women of Color in Career Services – Creating Pathways for Career Advancement” (Midwest ACE 2018) and “Navigating the Culture of Whiteness & Patriarchy: Women of Color in Higher Education Leadership” (NASPA: 2018).


Meet Cheresa Fewell – EACE Member Spotlight

Cheresa Fewell

Career and Internship Advisor, St. John’s University,

Cheresa Fewell

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

Queens, NY

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

I enjoy watching football and basketball when they are in season, cooking, trying and finding new restaurants, going to the beach, and catching up with friends.

Why do you do what you do?

I enjoy helping individuals to find their career or job based on their passion and desire. Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Sometimes I like to call myself the job whisperer.

What is your educational background?

AA in Psychology, BA in Psychology, & MS in Human Resource Management

What was your first job?

For my first job in my career, I was a Work Readiness Instructor/Youth Advocate at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.

What is the best advice you ever received?

When there is no path, go and create one!

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

Take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you, that will allow you to succeed in this business.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I like would like to race cars one day; I have a need for speed. LOL

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

Get on Board!



The process of selecting future EACE leaders through board nomination is vital for the growth of our organization. What better way to learn about the board then from hearing from some current board members!

“Being on the board helps develop leadership skills and gives you the chance to grow professionally outside of your day to day job responsibilities.”

Craig Single, President-Elect


“Joining the EACE Board will expand your network so you can meet more motivated leaders who will help you continue your career journey!”

Stacy McClelland, Past President


“Advance your career and professional development through epic networking and recruitment opportunities!”

Terri Morris, Director of Employer Member Services


“Being on the EACE Board is one of the greatest professional development decisions I’ve ever made. Having the chance to shape the future of an organization whose mission I live every day has been incredibly rewarding, and working with wonderful professionals that I’m lucky to now call friends has made leadership downright fun!”

Amy Smith, Director of Technology & Information Management


“When an opportunity comes along to make a difference and potentially do something great, you should grab it!  Becoming a member of the EACE Board affords you the opportunity to build connections, stay current in your field, learn from EACE leaders, expand your network and knowledge outside of your place of employment, share your talents and skills, make an impact on something bigger than you, and overall grow as a professional.”

Jennifer Grauso, Director of Professional Development


Educate yourself on the latest happenings in the field.

Ample opportunities to develop leadership and managerial skills.

Create new initiatives to help grow the organization for the future.

Expand your network with leaders throughout the region.

Christine Cervelli, Director of Membership Recruitment & Retention


Educate yourself and others on industry trends.

Accelerate your leadership skills.

Connect with outstanding colleagues across the East Coast!

Enlarge your vision of what’s possible in recruitment and career development.

Zachary Saeva, Director of Public Relations and Communication


Meet Amanda Chase – EACE Member Spotlight

Amanda Chase

Career Counselor & Internship Coordinator, University of Vermont,

AmandaChase - Amanda Chase

What do you do in your current position?

I wear a few different hats: I counsel students and alumni as they apply for internships, jobs, and other opportunities. I also consult with employers on internship best practices and help them find promising UVM interns. Lastly, I collaborate with UVM faculty and staff to create and administer internship programs and policies across our campus.

Where are you originally from?

I grew up about 30 miles from New York City in a town called Chappaqua, NY.

Where do you live now?

Burlington, Vermont

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

I love being outside, so you can often find me mountain biking and skiing. I also enjoy working with my hands and tinkering away on DIY projects.

Why do you do what you do?

Some of my own most significant career training has happened through experiential learning (that is, learning by doing), which is why I love my position as the Internship Coordinator. Internships are a great way that students can gain experience, make connections to future employers, narrow career goals and focus, and develop important on-the-job skills.

What is your educational background?

My educational and career interests have all related to working with students in times of transition. For my undergraduate work. I studied Psychology at Hamilton College and conducted research on the impacts of a wilderness pre-orientation program and how it helped first-year students adjust to college. After that, I relocated to Vermont to earn my Master’s degree in Counseling at UVM. I worked as a high school counselor and in college admissions before arriving at the UVM Career Center. I’m currently a doctoral candidate in the Ed.D program at UVM and researching the ways that cultural, social, and economic capital impact access to internship opportunities.

What was your first job?

A lifeguard at a Girl Scout camp. I loved it.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Someone once told me that you often don’t realize what your values are until they have been breached. In that way, even the worst experiences can help you clarify your values and learn about what’s most important to you.

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

Connect with other people doing this work, and always be opening to learning new things. This field is ever-changing, and you must keep learning to keep up and improve what you do.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I love puns and competed in a pun-off event last year. I lost to an eleven-year-old, which was humbling. I wanted to be like Punder Woman, but I was more Attila the Pun.

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


by Lisa Hansinger, Saint Joseph’s University

Looking for Board Nominations for the 2019/2020 Year!  Time to Get Involved to “Paint” Your Future!

Everyone knows someone – jump into the New Year by nominating a colleague (or yourself!) who has something valuable to contribute to the profession.  The following positions are available:

  1. President-Elect
  2. Director of Finance
  3. Director of Diversity and Inclusion
  4. Director of PR & Communications

Simply log in to your EACE account and go to the to submit your nomination – it will take less than 5 minutes to complete the form – and can make a world of difference to our members!  Thank you for your active participation in EACE! Visit the website for details:

Know Someone Who is Making an Impact in Our Profession?  Or Someone Who is Deserving of Recognition for Past Service?  Nominations for 2019 Awards Open on January 22!

We all have colleagues who either have already contributed to our profession in a significant way  AND/OR are doing creative and cutting edge programming – be among the first to “shine a light” on them for an award to be presented at the 2019 Conference in Hartford, CT!  Award categories include:

  • Innovation and Leadership Awards
    • Distinguished Leadership Award
    • Innovation in Assessment Award
    • Innovation in Program Development Award
    • Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion Award
  • Service Awards
    • Tribute Award
    • Outstanding Member Award
    • Rising Star Award

Be on the lookout for an email with a link to nominate a deserving and hard-working colleague – it will take less than 5 minutes to complete the form – and can bring some well-deserved recognition to another member.  Thank you for your active participation in EACE! Visit the website for details:

Lisa is a Career Counselor at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She currently sits on the Leadership and Recognition Committee and has been an EACE member for 3 years. She has attended two previous EACE Conferences and looks forward to making a more active contribution to the association and profession moving forward!

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.

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