Publications & Products
Volume 3, Issue 9

Connect Alumni Relations and Career Services

Community college alumni relations programs can benefit through connections with their institution's career services office, say two practitioners.

Illinois Central College in East Peoria, Ill., launched its alumni association last summer. Since then, Elaine Goslin, alumni association coordinator, has been finding ways for the organization and its members to engage with the college's career services office.

Goslin started promoting the college's free online job search system to alumni. Now, alumni are not only using the system to search for jobs but also to post jobs for other alumni and students to see. Additionally, Goslin promotes workshops held by career services and occasionally co-sponsors events at which alumni serve as speakers. For example, an alumna with more than 23 years of experience as a certified resume writer led a workshop last fall. (A YouTube video of her presentation is available for viewing.)

Goslin notes that she often refers local business and community leaders to the career services office when they express an interest in hiring students and alumni or are looking for qualified interns.

"I promote with employers what we already have in place and it essentially becomes a win-win for all stakeholders—including the alumni office," she says. "It's all a part of the relationship-building process that is mutually beneficial to all of us."

Barbara Capsouras, director of alumni relations at County College of Morris in Randolph, N.J., works with her college's career services office in a similar manner. Not only are alumni offered ongoing job search support from career services, but successful alumni are encouraged to come back and share their knowledge with students during a designated career week and at other career services events held throughout the year.

For example, one graduate who started Jersey Girl Chocolate, a popular local candy bar company, has been featured in alumni publications and often talks to business and marketing classes at the college.

"These events with alumni show students the value of a degree," Capsouras says. "To see successful alumni say, ‘If I hadn't have gone to County College of Morris, then this wouldn't have happened to me,' is invaluable. It shows that these people, who may not have known what they wanted to do when they came here, eventually found their niche here."

Further discussion about ways to engage alumni with current students—including making connections with career services—will take place March 25 and 26 at the Engaging Community College Alumni virtual conference.

This article is from the March 2014 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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