Expanded center connects students to careers

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2 students talk with a company rep at the career services eventIn today’s tight job market, top-notch career services make a big difference for students starting careers. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2014 Student Survey Report, more than 80 percent of U.S. students use the resources of their institutions’ career centers. Those students receive a job offer more frequently than those who do not use career center services.

To help increase the odds for GGG students, the college is expanding its Career Development and Advising Center (CDAC). The expanded center leverages Internet communications, a larger staff and a newly established career fair to further student career opportunities and education pathways.

Catherine Neiner, CDAC’s director, said she plans to build the career center of the 21st century. Her goals are to support student progress, enhance relationships with employers and post-baccalaureate educational programs, and establish a prominent presence within GGC and the communities beyond.

“GGC’s comprehensive career center engages all aspects from classroom to career,” she said. “Our students must have a deep understanding of their potential and how to achieve it, and our community friends and employers must be educated about how our students can be strong contributors in the wider community.”

“The CDAC staff is highly skilled and spending just 15 minutes with them can change your whole outlook on life and possibly your career.”

– Rachel Patti, class of 2015

Thousands of students recently attended the center’s first career fair, which boasted 40 employers recruiting from the various GGC disciplines, including liberal arts, education, medicine and technology. Support for the event came from GGC partners Gwinnett County Public Schools and Gwinnett Medical Center; Green Level Sponsors Hexaware, State Farm, USAuto Sales, Waffle House, Fastenal, Micromeritics and Fleetcor; Gray Level Sponsor State Farm Duluth; and Charter Level Sponsor Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance.

In addition to establishing the annual career fair, CDAC’s wide-ranging services include:
• Career and academic advising
• Resume, cover letter and personal statement critique
• Job search coaching, career planning
• Mock interviews and feedback
• Employment opportunities
• Graduate and professional school research assistance
• Networking, professionalism training
• Workshops on various topics

Neiner recommended that students engage with CDAC as early as possible, citing three essential stages in the process: assess, explore and apply.

Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to assess interests, goals and abilities to discern potential career paths and/or additional educational options. Sophomores and juniors are encouraged to explore a variety of experiences to develop understanding of these potential paths and to apply their academic coursework in co-curricular settings such as internships and study abroad. Seniors are ready to apply for jobs and graduate schools.

“Constant engagement is key,” Neiner said. “Students should participate in a variety of professional development activities and enhance their skills.”

Rachel Patti, class of ‘15, has been using CDAC’s services for nearly two years. She said she has learned seemingly endless ways to use the skill set she’s mastered for her degree in political science, with a concentration in international relations.

“The CDAC staff showed me that I can go beyond working at the Capitol or becoming a politician,” she said. “The CDAC staff is highly skilled and spending just 15 minutes with them can change your whole outlook on life and possibly your career.”

Below are pictures from GGC’s career fair.

Students and staff looking at Career Day map
Student discussing career opportunities with potential employer
Three male students dressed in suits for Career Day
Student learning about possible military careers
Female student networking with potential employers
Employer discussing opportunities with student
Male student learning about career opportunities from participating employer

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