From the Nominator
In early March, the Class of 2020 was poised to enter one of the strongest job markets in history. More than half of Rollins College’s 627 soon-to-be graduates were actively seeking their first job. With the advent of COVID-19, everything changed. The jobs students had interviews lined up for disappeared when the pandemic hit. Zip Recruiter postings for entry-level jobs typically filled by college graduates fell 73 percent. Unemployment for ages 20 to 24 skyrocketed to nearly one in four workers. According to research from past downturns, it could take this year’s graduates more than a decade to recover from current economic conditions.
To address this unexpected situation, Rollins embarked on a bold new initiative to help every 2020 graduate secure a job opportunity within three months. The Share the Light Jobs Challenge called on Rollins’ alumni network to share any openings, including full- and part-time jobs or internships, that could provide recent graduates with meaningful employment in the worst job market since the Great Depression.
A collaboration between Rollins’ Center for Career & Life Planning and the Division of Institutional Advancement, the Jobs Challenge paired recent graduates with positions that best suit their skillset and purpose. An intensive outreach campaign was launched on June 30. Since the launch, more than 150 Rollins alumni responded by offering jobs, internships, mentorship, or expertise. Although some of Rollins’ newest alumni decided to pursue advanced degrees, and others had already secured a position, this endeavor offered assistance, support, and hope to many new graduates.
From the Judges
This was an innovative idea to help their students find jobs amid a terrible jobs market, creating a strong link to the mission of the college. They identified how they could *really* be of service to their alumni. They pulled together a number of different constituencies, creating a very timely and effective response to the crisis. They did a lot of good with nothing in terms of budget, and demonstrated significant results.