Career Services updates name and mission

Career Services has an updated look, name and game plan for the 2018-2019 school year. The new Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement (CLC) is making its debut on the second floor of Chapman Hall. Physically, this means a new conference table, expanded lobby and coffee bar to create a more student-friendly environment.

On a deeper level, the change is part of an initiative which began last year to revamp the university’s approach to life after Lawrence. The initiative, which is spread out over a five-year implementation plan, features four main goals. First, to ensure that career and life exploration begins early and happens often for all Lawrentians. Second, to nurture meaningful student partnerships with staff, employers and alumni. Third, to create a stronger link between academic and career advising. Fourth, to create a career center resourced and organized to meet student needs.

Interim Director of the CLC Anne Jones, said the name denotes a broader mission than previously conceptualized. While career is important, the CLC will also advise on grad school and other pre-professional opportunities. The CLC will be a resource for learning about “life skills,” like finances, insurance, etc. One benefit of the new furniture is that students will now be able to meet with “peer educators” in a relaxed atmosphere. Peer educators are students employed by the CLC who have been trained to help their fellow Lawrentians develop their resumes, applications and professional social media in-house.

The “Community Engagement” part refers to plans for more integration with the Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE), headed by Kristi Hill. While the CCE will remain in the Volunteer and Community Service Center (VCSC), the collaboration will help students explore opportunities for community engagement and social justice after school.

Another new feature is the recently launched Lawrence Link. Lawrence Link replaces Career Works, which was the old forum for Lawrence students to find internships and job opportunities. The new site promises to run better and centralize the process of the career search. In design, it is similar to LinkedIn.

Furthermore, the CLC has identified 350 companies that are desirable for job-seeking Lawrence grads in some way. This can mean that the company is in a growing industry, a popular city, employs Lawrence alumni, etc. The goal is to use the list to make deeper partnerships with 30 to 40 good employers. Eventually, this could mean deals that ensure these employers hire a certain number of Lawrentians every year.

“We’re going to work with students no matter what they want to do,” said Anne Jones. “We’re not just trying to drive you into a job. What are your goals, your vision?”

Jones will serve as interim dean until a new dean is selected by a committee led by Vice President for Student Life Chris Card. The committee is engaged in a national search that is reportedly in its final stages, and is presumed to wrap up before the end of the term. Right now, the CLC’s biggest hurdle is staffing. For Lawrence’s size, advisors are currently spread a bit thin. According to Jones, the future will ideally include an advisor for each “career community.”