WMU Focus On Employment Prep

August 22, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — With a new program rolling out at the start of next year, Western Michigan University hopes to ease the woes of displaced workers in the area.

WMU will open its Career Services Center to help those who have lost a job, desire a change of careers or seek to return to the work force.

Because employers often don’t have the services to help displaced employees undertake a new job search, the Career Services Center will include vocational testing, interview coaching, resume writing and job-search campaigning as part of its services.

“We don’t have the resources to place them in jobs,” said Nick Andreadis, director of the  master’s program in human resources at WMU.

“But we can prepare them to go out there. As a university, and as a service-oriented university, we believe this will be a service the community could really use.”

The center’s target is mid-level professionals or line workers. But Andreadis says that doesn’t mean the center wishes to exclude anyone. Instead, he said, it means the center recognizes that senior level employees often receive employment services through their employers.

The services provided by the center will enable Andreadis and his team to help prospective clients in several job search formats, including the Internet.

Internet access will be provided and worksheets and workbooks will help clients reflect on their strengths, aptitudes, experience, vocational interests and interests they may have pursued earlier.

These materials also will help Center counselors lead the client on the proper career path by assisting them in developing a resume.

The center’s staff will be provided through the master’s in human resources and development program at WMU. Students going through the master’s degree program can elect to work in the center as an elective, for which they will receive graduate credit.

Each student will be registered under a supervisor and will focus on learning how the center functions. Students also will help supervise and advise clients.

“We call it a practicum, where they get practical experience,” Andreadis said. “It is a three credit course. The university’s primary mission is education but service orientation as well, and this combines the two.”

Students will be expected to do some role-playing and practice interviewing techniques.

The center will have a sliding-fee scale based on services for clients interested in the program. Andreadis said he recognizes that clients come from varied economic situations and, therefore, will set the fee scale according to services provided.

“We also want to recognize that there are companies that do this and we are not here to compete with them,” said Andreadis.

“We are here as a service to the community and a service to our students who can receive practical experience through helping others.”

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