Growth Beyond College

By: Gus Najera, Director of College Success Programs

As Director of the College Success team, I often find myself questioning when our work is done. Is it when our students graduate college? Is it when they get their first job? The truth is, further than our mission to make college a reality for them, our vision is to provide our students with the ability to actively participate in transforming their communities to create a better society. That means not just cultivating professionals but successful and empowered ones that will eventually lead the growth in their communities.

Thus, in addition to providing student’s resources to ensure persistence and, ultimately, college graduation, we want to make sure that our students are prepared for life after college. Our College Success team came together and decided that we would create a list of graduate programs and career readiness webinars that we would put together for our students. We compiled a list of all our student majors and highlighted the most popular ones, as well as exposing them to careers they may not have been so familiar with. The team decided that for each webinar, we would start with a brief presentation to introduce the topic. Then we would end the webinar by featuring a panel of professionals to talk about their experiences. And, with all that in mind, our webinar list was born!

Jessica got a job with FitKidz through Destination College+ last year and has worked with them for the past 2 summers while she is still in college.

So far, we have featured programs such as Law and Medical School and spotlighted careers such as Engineering, Business, and Psychology. One of my personal favorites was our “Majors Don’t Equal Careers” webinar, where we featured panelists who pursued careers that were not traditional to someone within their major. It showed our students that they are not limited to choosing one career path. For this reason, we encourage students to attend webinars outside of their majors. It allows them to explore as many career paths as possible. Before the pandemic, webinars were something that we used to provide additional support for our students. However, since the stay-at-home order began, webinars have been an essential piece of our career readiness curriculum.

Furthermore, every year we host our Career Expo Conference, where we prepare our students with resume workshops, mock interviews, and networking opportunities. The conference is capped by our Career Fair where we feature various companies that, in many cases, are looking to hire our students for internships, part-time, and full-time positions. It has been a great resource to prepare our students for the exciting adventure of job hunting! We have now converged our annual Career Expo with Destination College to create Destination College+.

Finding a job after college has always been a challenge. Now that we’re in a pandemic and many have lost their jobs, that challenge has intensified. We are confident that with the resources and support we are providing our students, we are positioning our students for success beyond their college graduation and well into their professional careers.

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