Get a Job

It seems our trademarked “College to Careers” brand is at risk of appropriation by Wake Forest and other colleges. In Sunday’s NY Time article, “How to Get a Job with a Philosophy Degree,” Wake Forest University is singled out for their efforts to offer career guidance to students, including their orientation session, “From College to Career.” University of Chicago’s efforts in this area are also recognized, along with Wesleyan University. In order to differentiate themselves with students (and paying parents), schools are increasingly focused on the practical application of the received education.

Here at Harold Washington College, we are devoting effort to complementing the excellent instruction our students receive in the classroom with soft-skills training outside the classroom. A significant element of that training is enabling students to tell their story. Twenty-six students participated in our “Employment Success Skills Program” last semester. We are seeking to triple that number this year. Students learn resume preparation, interviewing skills, and job success skills such as showing up on time and how to deal with conflict in the workplace. A capstone event helps them communicate their story in a compelling way to prospective employers.

We are also working with our faculty on how to take what we are learning in the soft skills training and from employer feedback to understand what we want to blend into our core academic program. Many of the same skills that help students become successful employees are best learned in the classroom – such as, meeting a deadline for a big presentation. I am gratified that so many faculty are engaging on this topic and interested in how we prepare students for long-term success.

So while our intrepid C2C Director of Career Placement and Planning does not earn the $350,000 salary his Wake Forest counterpart makes, HWC is not charging the $60,000 per year tuition and fees, either. Perhaps he can comfort himself with the thought that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.

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