Career services planning job replacement program to help students and alumni

Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

Aimee Piccin, associate director for academic and career advising, said when she started working for Southern two months ago, she was determined to establish a job placement program that would, not only help students, but alumni as well.

Piccin said a job placement program would identify how and where Southern alum are employed and would benefit the office of Academic and Career Advising, as well as other departments, in guiding undergraduates in their chosen fields based on that information.

“There are so many students that come in and say, ‘I’m getting a psych degree, what can I do with it?’ We can do self-assessment and tell you what you can do with it,” said Piccin. “But it is also really great to have that piece that says, ‘82 percent of our psych students go to [here].’”

Piccin said the Alumni Association, the Office of Student Involvement and the office of Institutional Advancement are some of the offices collaborating in this initiative and are in the process of establishing a six question survey to be administered to students who would be imminently graduating, as well administering it again six months later to ensure information is up to date.

Michelle Johnston, director of alumni relations for the Alumni Association, said questions on the survey will help Southern not only gain insight into alum’s prospective professional careers, but will also help them maintain their relationship to the university.  

Johnston added the Alumni Office established a five-part, award winning, Admissions to Graduation program that assists students from enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Southern’s A to G program received the Gold Award for best alumni program and the silver award under best practices, which is the standard by which academic programs are evaluated.

Johnston said services featured in the A to G Program are the Mentoring Match, where undergraduates are paired with alum in the field to establish a network as well as gain insight from a Southern grad, as well as Alumni Professionals Day, where multiple alums come to campus and speak with students about graduating. She said her office is also implementing an extensive networking initiative, which will allow alumni to build and sustain connections locally as well as nationally.

“The thing about networking is you have to use what you got to get what you want,” said Johnston, “you have to use your connections everywhere you are. So this is an important thing for our students to figure out.”

Johnston said, currently, connections have been established in Litchfield, Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties, with plans to expand to every county within the state. She said connections will also be established in Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago by end of April, as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego by next year.

John Rochette, assistant director of academic and career advising, said his office provides various services in preparing students for graduation and the professional world.

“Whatever their major, we have information available to give an idea of the type of industries that would hire graduates of that major,” said Rochette. “We meet with students and discuss what they want to do, if they decided on a major or a career, and they’re coming in with a resume, we can tweak it to steer them towards particular jobs.”

Rochette said students can take advantage of the JOBS website, which has over 500 job and internship postings available for a variety of majors, his office also helps students build and amend their resumes through one on one appointments or through events, such as the Resumania on March 9 and March 30. He said students can also look forward to the Career Fair on April 9, where they can meet prospective employers, as well as build connections.

Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

PHOTO: Aimee Piccin, associate director for academic and career services.


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