UCF launches a Work Readiness Program to Help College of Business Grads Succeed in the Workforce

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by the EPI, the unemployment rate for people under the age of 25 is typically at least twice the national unemployment average.  The new college graduates entering the workforce will have to work even harder to get noticed by prospective employers.  But what if there was a university program in place to help you land your dream job before you even left college? 

The University of Central Florida's (UCF) College of Business decided to take the role of academic advising a step further by merging The Office for Career Connections with Undergraduate Student Services to form the Office of Professional Development. Earlier this year at the 2014 Hall of Fame Banquet, Dean, Paul Jarley, PhD.,  spoke about the focus of the new program, “It is the goal of this new center to work in partnership with area employers to improve the market-readiness of our students through a series of workshops, coaching sessions and activities designed to sharpen their career goals and implement a concrete plan to launch their career by landing the job of their choice BEFORE they leave college.”

So what does the new center have to offer?  Thanks to the new program, the College of Business Administration students at UCF will have options to do the following:

1. Academic Advising - Students can receive assistance on schedule planning and university policies from A-Team members (trained peers put in place to help students navigate university policies and procedures). Students will be able to get one-on-one advising to help them answer such questions as: which classes should I take next term?  Or, how do I change majors? How do I file my intent to graduate? If a student has questions regarding curriculum, she can reach out directly to the faculty within that academic department. 

A-Team Members Include:  Aly Comellas, Sophia Gatto, Nisi Jimenez, Arielle Morten, Jen Chang, and Student Support Specialist, Molly Duvall

2. Career Coaching – Each student is assigned a dedicated Career Coach based upon their chosen major.  If a student is having trouble choosing between an accounting degree or finance degree he can schedule an appointment with his personal Career Coach to discuss further.  The career coaches can also help students with revising their resumes, reviewing internship options, and providing them with helpful advice to prepare them for their future careers.

Career Coaches Include:  Lindsay Bridges, Kelly Bogey, Angela Cotto, Victoria Farinas, Laura McDonough, Sara Garcia, and Emily Sullivan.

3. Career Professionalism Classes - The College of Business Administration added four brand new one-credit classes to the Fall 2014 Semester line-up.  Students can choose between: Career Research and Planning, Career Search Strategy, Business Interview Techniques, or Executing Your Career Plan.  The goal of the series is to provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in the workforce. 

Lonny Butcher, SPHR, Director of Professional Development and Placement at University of Central Florida works very closely with the Professional Development programs and also writes frequently on the department’s blog about professional development, job readiness, and provides career advice.  Check out the blog. It’s a great resource for current UCF College of Business Administration students and prospective students.

Central Florida business professionals have also jumped on board with the program as well. Dean of the UCF College of Business, Paul Jarley, PhD and Lonny Butcher held a Career Professional Consortium back in mid July which included members from local businesses.  Scott Badger, (Orange County HR), Heather Deyrieux (OrlandoJobs.com), Aimee Brun (Hilton Grand Vacations), Garry Capton, (Fairwinds Credit Untion), Dianne Owen (Fairwinds Credit Union), and Stephanie Kenny and Jessica Munford (Aerotek) were among the 14 attendants of the consortium.  The consortium brought HR professionals and local employers together with UCF to help make the career professional development programs a success for current and future students.  They are off to a great start.

As a graduate of UCF a few years back, I'm excited by the recent creation of the Office of Professional Development.  I predict the other colleges within UCF will adopt similar programs in the years to come.  The prospect of graduation and entering the workforce can seem very daunting at first; but with a program like this in place graduates will be able to enter the workforce with the confidence and tools needed for success.



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