Students learn to merge their career aspirations with community outreach


Haljit BasueljevicReporter

During a roundtable discussion between seven community leaders called Transformative Careers in the Public Humanities, students learned to bridge the partnership between their aspirations and community outreach.

The discussion took place last Wednesday, in the Adanti Student Center’s theater which was almost at full capacity. English major, Emily Wolfe, a senior, asked the guests what the best approach would be to get a job after graduation. Executive Director of New Haven’s Pride Center Patrick Dunn said for the specific job markets, cover letters written with voguish buzzwords make an impression.

Dunn’s mission consists of political advocacy that helps form laws for the LGBTQ+ community, and as a part of a community service, they have helped create various programs to tackle issues such as social and job inequity. He said that the laws established currently within the state do not have the safety of LGBTQ+ members in mind.

“We do a little bit of everything,” said Dunn. “We live in a state where up to 40% of the youth homeless are identified as LGBTQ+. That’s higher than the national average.”

Founded 23 years ago, The New Haven Pride Center was created by a congregation of activists after New Haven voted to deny same-sex marriage.

Calling these disparities “the reality of our system”, CEO of CONNCAT Erik Clemson added to Dunn’s statement by highlighting that the response to poverty in his organization is a $150 million project that will provide comfortable housing and dining. He said that not only does CONNCAT help those unemployed with jobtraining programs, but there is also equal support for students to secure employment by learning through mock interviews, company research and networking.

“It’s important to me and the people I work with and the people that govern the organization that we change the narrative around poverty,“ said Clemson.

Director of IRIS Case Management Alexine Casanova said that her organization is there to save the lives of immigrants who have fled persecution and look to resettle themselves. She said that IRIS provides the most vulnerable population of refugees with registered schooling, English tutoring, healthcare, housing and their rights and responsibilities.

She also said that even those who have suffered through the worst, are physically disabled or speak little English are expected by the government to become self-sufficient within three to six months after their arrival.

“Many do succeed. Of course, it’s not possible in all cases, so we do provide on-going services, as I said, up to five years after arrival,” said Casanova.

Clemson also responded to Wolfe’s question by saying that one of the essential qualities he looks for when interviewing an intern is if they have an ecstatic personality for the job. The remaining members agreed, as Clemson said that what drove him towards this avenue, towards work that benefits the community, is a calling. This is also a quality he sees in successful candidates.

“I like interviewing people who are looking to manifest their calling. What are they called to do?” said Clemson.

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