WSU expands career services

FAIRBORN — Wright State University will centralize and expand its career services to better meet students’ needs and help students be prepared to contribute to the workforce.

Beginning in the fall 2018 semester, Wright State will provide early intervention career education for students to help them prepare for co-ops, internships and employment opportunities. The Wright State Career Center will provide career services to students earlier in their academic career under the new initiative.

Early intervention services will also be created for students who have not declared a major and students enrolled in first-year seminar courses to help them assess career options.

“Early intervention will include proactive outreach, communication campaigns, and increased opportunities for individual and small group contact with the students,” said Cheryl Stuart, director of the Career Center.

The university will expand the number of dedicated career support personnel to provide career services directly to students around career and industry clusters, including business, STEM fields, education, liberal arts, health and human services.

Dedicated career support will be expanded at both the Dayton Campus and Lake Campus. Career services will be centrally supervised by the Career Center and will be locally delivered within the college locations and at the Lake Campus.

One of the focuses of the expanded services is to prepare students for co-ops and internships, experiential education and postgraduate employment.

In addition, Wright State has centralized its career services, placing the Career Center and its affiliated staff within the Division of Student Success. “It’s exciting to say the university places value in combining the student success initiatives and career success initiatives under the same leadership,” Stuart said.

The move will make it easier for career advising staff to collaborate with student success and academic advising staff. It can also help both staffs to intervene earlier with students who may need additional services.

Student success is not limited to course completion, student outcomes and enrollment, said Tim Littell, executive director of student success. “Getting our career folks working with academic advisers early and often not only helps us achieve the goals of persistence and retention, but it also helps us achieve our graduation goals, ” he said.

The Career Center will implement the expanded services throughout the fall semester. The rollout includes thorough outreach efforts to students.

The expanded services are supported by a new $25 career services fee Wright State has started assessing all degree-seeking undergraduate students. The fee, which is assessed every term, was first listed on fall 2018 billing statements for degree-seeking undergraduate students.

Wright State’s fee is the lowest among those Ohio public universities that have implemented a career services fee.

The fee was approved by the Wright State Board of Trustees and the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The fee is part of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s initiative to improve career readiness of graduates and retain more graduates in Ohio.

Expanded early intervention career services will focus on students who have not selected a major or are changing majors. The Career Center will provide those students with career development, assessment and education to help them match their education goals with a possible career path.

“For students who are exploring and not firmly set in their career plans, we want to have the services they need to help them achieve their career decisions,” Stuart said.

The Career Center will offer career education and online tools and resources with which students can assess their interests, strengths and skills to help them select a career path

The Career Center will also expand its employer/student engagement strategies, including offering more opportunities for employers and students to engage through job fairs, job postings and networking events at both campuses.

“Every time the Career Center and Wright State are engaging with the external community, we’re creating business and industry partnerships — it creates more opportunity for our students and graduates,” Stuart said.

The university is now offering a new online talent-recruitment website called Handshake. Through the website, students can search for co-ops, internships and jobs around the country. Students can create a profile, post their resume and share their social media accounts. Employers also use the service and can reach out to students with opportunities.

The service allows Wright State to provide more opportunities for students who may want to go somewhere nationally for a summer co-op or internship or post-graduation employment, Stuart said.

The Career Center plans to implement an assessment strategy to measure the success of its new initiatives. The system will track not only job placement rates after graduation, but also “first destinations” that track graduates who may already have a career, attend graduate school, join the Peace Corps, the military or another form of services, or even take a gap year.