Changes and collaborations surround the new Career Development Center: Career Services to work more closely with students, including the addition of student Career Coaches

Posted by Adrian Appleman

April 20 will mark the culmination of changes in Career Services that have occurred over the past few semesters with the official renaming of the service to the "Career Development Center."

Though most of the changes have taken place gradually since the center's new director, Deborah Loffredo, came on board at the beginning of the fall semester, this switch will ceremoniously usher the campus resource into a new era of services.

Even with the relocation from Starbuck center earlier in the semester, momentum has not slowed within Career Services. According to Loffredo, the staff members have settled well into their new home in what used to the Case Center Game Room.

"Everyone, from Facilities to IT, was wonderful," Loffredo said. "The time frame was unbelievable - I remember one week seeing the floor plans laid out on the pool table, and two to three weeks later, there were offices!"

Since the relocations began, Career Services has sponsored numerous events around campus in collaboration with other departments and offices, including the SGA Fashion Show on "What Not to Wear," a presentation on how to dress for the professional sphere, which took place early last month.

This event also included collaboration with Alumni Association, bringing in Keith Fitz-Gerald, Class of '87, chairman of The Fitz-Gerald Group, LLC and chief investment strategist for Money Map Press, to deliver an introduction.

Later that week, the "Health Professions Career Panel" took place, which involved the combined efforts of the Pre-Med Club, Alumni Affairs and College Events and the Health Professions Advisory Committee, as well as Career Services.

Career Services is also currently working with Communication's Online Community Manager Daniella Nordin to offer a social media course beginning March 26.

All these events underscore the central philosophy of what is to be the new Career Development Center: collaboration. In analyzing the results of a Career Services survey posed to students last semester, the Career Services team determined that focusing on generating new ways to better integrate their services into the rest of the Skidmore campus is a priority.

"All the data from the survey has been analyzed, and what you are seeing is our plans to address this feedback," said Loffredo. "We are constantly coordinating new events to increase collaboration across the board. The biggest thing on the docket, though, is definitely the new Career Coaches position."

Career Coaches are student employees who will serve as peer professional mentors, much as the First-Year Experience office offers academic and social peer mentors, and the Off-Campus Study & Exchanges Office provides student program advisors.

Career Coaches will be current sophomores and juniors, whose jobs will include conducting workshops on r??sum?? and cover letting writing, interviewing skills, summer internship possibilities, etc., in residence halls, as well as one-on-one r??sum?? and cover letter reviews.

Loffredo said this position is aimed to help give students a professional experience, expand the capabilities of the new Career Development Center and provide a new area of collaboration directly with leaders and involved members of the student body.

"We will be considering student Career Coaches as full members of the staff," Loffredo said, "and therefore will be training them at the professional level. They will even have responsibilities similar to the full-time staff, including being available to their peers during drop-in hours."

Career Coaches will be paid $9 per hour to compensate for their extensive responsibilities.

"Career Coaches will receive premium compensation due to the advanced specialized skills, knowledge or abilities expected," details the Career Coach job description, "as well as an increased level of responsibility, working with minimal supervision and making independent decisions."

The applications for the positions closed on March 8, and interviews for Career Coaches will begin later this week. The selected candidates will join the Career Development Center team in the fall.

Meanwhile, the Career Development Center continues to build upon its slew of program offerings with another installment of its "Living the Liberal Arts" in Gender Studies at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall.

There also will be a presentation during Autism Awareness Week by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, looking to recruit students interested in nursing and working with people with disabilities, on Tuesday, April 17 (more information can be found on the Career Services Calendar ). A new Career Development Center website will launch later in 2012, as well.

Even though April 20 is the date for the Career Development Center's official relaunching, changes will continue to be gradual.

"We plan to offer a whole lot more over the coming months to hit different and broader audiences," Loffredo said. "The great thing about a liberal arts education is that it is a springboard into the widest array of careers. Our goal is to accommodate a diverse community of students and alumni who are interested in, well, everything." 

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