Increasing Career Services’ Relevancy
The importance of career services continues to be a key component of university messaging to current or prospective students. This is especially the case with the increase of tuition costs which, in turn, has caused an increase in the average student debt. Research found that “the average cumulative student debt balance in 2017 was $26,900 for graduates of public four-year schools and $32,600 for graduates of private nonprofit four-year schools.” Therefore, the pressure to connect students to meaningful and relevant jobs through career services is at an all-time high.
Higher education institutions are always looking for more ways to promote their career services offices but awareness among students suffers the most. According to a recent McGraw-Hill Education survey, “fewer than half of college students use their institutions’ career services” and “just four in 10 college seniors feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ prepared for the workplace.” Despite the fact that many students attend college as a means to create a pathway to get a new job, they have difficulty walking through the doors of their career services offices. This lack of awareness could be related to a lack of relevancy; students may not feel as though the career services offers them workforce application.
One possible solution is to extend the responsibility of building awareness around career services to outside of the career services offices by integrating career preparedness into their curricula. Carol D’Amico, the executive president at Strada Education Network, said that colleges and universities should focus on “making their coursework and what they’re teaching relevant,” to show its “connection to what happens out in the work world.” Some institutions have already implemented this framework into their teaching by collaborating with major tech companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Facebook.
These tech companies have developed curriculum that are shared with colleges and universities that are focused on workforce development for students. For example, “Google designed its own IT support certificate, and Facebook hired Pathstream, a company that partners with software firms to build skills-training programs, to support its digital marketing certificate.” Many of these tech company programs are given to higher education institutions for free in hopes that they will be implemented into the classroom and therefore provide college graduates with applicable training and education.
Another solution to build career services awareness is to make sure the most relevant jobs are reaching students. Symplicity CSM offers a Curated Jobs Feed that is entirely focused on connecting students that are underserved or unaware to career services opportunities. The Curated Job feed is a service that exclusively drives thousands of new jobs from across the United States to our U.S. undergraduate career center clients. Curated Jobs helps clients drive higher levels of student engagement by increasing and diversifying the types of opportunities posted on the CSM job feed. It should also be noted that schools can opt-in to an automated weekly feed of jobs that have been curated for entry-level job seekers.