Career Development Task Force Launches Pilot Programs

In light of a competitive job market in the current recession, Pomona College’s Career Development Office (CDO) is making an extra effort to equip graduates with tools to succeed in what can feel like a grim post-graduation future.

In response to a report published last May by a Task Force made up of faculty, staff, students, and trustees, the CDO is considering implementing a new four-year plan that will improve on the current system in place to help students in pursuit of their career and life goals. The plan is currently in development and no definitive date or policies have yet been approved.

“Right now the current sentiment among students is that they only need to show up junior and senior year and the college really wants to change that attitude,” First Year Class President Rishi Sangani PO ’15 said.

The new changes will be spearheaded by Mary Raymond, the CDO Director who is new to Pomona this year. Currently on a business trip in New York, Raymond wrote in an e-mail to TSL that “in a tight market like this when you are not NETworking, you are NOT working.”

One of the principal elements of the new four-year plan is to draw upon the knowledge and experience of college alumni to help current students succeed in the job hunt. Raymond stressed the importance of teaching students about the realities of the work world through practical experience. She emphasized the importance of students finding their own career paths through the CDO.

Assistant Professor of Economics Michael Steinberger, who serves on the committee considering the four-year plan, also emphasized the fact that the plan is meant to help students figure out their own goals rather than push them in a certain direction.

Raymond echoed Steinberger, adding, “We would like to work closely with first-years in assessing their interests, values, and abilities.”

In pursuit of that goal, Sangani recently initiated an effort to bring first-year sponsor groups to meet with the CDO. After attending a student-trustee retreat and through his job at the CDO, Sangani said he was inspired to get the first-year class started early rather than wait until their junior and senior years to seek guidance. As of now, the CDO has hosted sponsor groups on eight or nine dates.

Although independent of the Task Force, Sangani plans to continue this effort into next semester and next year with Raymond’s help.

The CDO’s new initiatives seek to make resources available to all of Pomona’s students rather than just those who opt-in. According to Steinberger, the plan under discussion primarily aspires to “ask students the right questions when they’re freshmen to help them realize their own dreams.”

To help the program transition into the four-year plan, Pomona College alumni working for Accenture, a consulting firm, have offered pro-bono services. The firm will help the CDO make resources and information more readily available to faculty advisors and students. According to Steinberger, Accenture’s expertise in technology would help students have more access to resources during their time at the College. Improvements would make the website easier to navigate.

“Pomona students are talented and undoubtedly will have many options. The CDO aims to insure that students have the self-knowledge they need to make informed choices that are reflective of what they want to be their life’s work rather than what other’s advise might be their calling,” Raymond said.

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