New Center Helps Match Students With Employers

July 29, 2008
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KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University unveiled its $2.6 million Career Center at the Haworth College of Business this spring. The center, completely funded by alumni, is aimed to help bridge the gap between college life and the working world.

“What we’re trying to do at this career center is provide opportunities for the companies in the region to meet with our students, and our students to meet with them, so that we can match them up,” said Dr. David Shields, dean of the Haworth College of Business.

“It makes it a better college experience for the students and it makes it a real resource for the region’s employers.”

The center will help students discover their interests and aptitudes and what careers might suit them. Students can also receive help with interviewing skills and résumés, among other services.

“One of (the services) is the actual interviewing with the company, so the companies can contact us and in turn will be able to interview our students for internships and full-time positions,” said Shields. “Another set of services relates to résumé preparation, interviewing skills, dress for success, and that whole battery of things that some students need to get them ready to take advantage of their education.”

A university-wide career center is available for all students and employers; however, the Career Center at the Haworth College of Business focuses on business-related employers, but is open to all students who meet the employers’ criteria.

“We’ll welcome business employers into this center, but we will permit any student, whether a business student or not, who meets the profile established by the company,” said Shields. “For example, if State Farm Insurance wants to come in and interview education and sociology majors as well as business majors, which does happen, those students are more than welcome to come over here and use it.”

Linda Ickes, director of the Career Center at Haworth College of Business, believes the new center will attract a more diverse group of employers.

“One of our key objectives is to invite a wide variety of employers to partner with us on career development programs,” Ickes said. “We’ll be working with organizations not only on a regional level but also across the country.”

Ickes mentioned she hopes employers also will make use of the center for such things as on-campus interviews.

“I think the key here is that having a career center integrated right into an academic area really adds a whole sense of professional socialization for the students,” said Ickes. “We’ll have employers partner with us on all of our educational programs, and also, a lot of employers partner with faculty on things, and having the career center right here in the building really facilitates that.” 

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