Innovative program helps students learn about career paths in Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Lehigh Valley
By Amy Griffin
When college students are preparing to leave campus and enter the workforce, it’s critical that they have experience on their resumes.
Gateway Career Center is students’ ally in building the experience that will give them a competitive edge on the job hunt. Gateway offers a menu of career-exploration and learning opportunities, including fundamental mainstays externships and internships.
But in an effort to always grow and innovate, the center has an additional career-exploration program in its mix of offerings.
Career Tracks is an immersive program open to students across all majors over the January break. The dynamic offering is made up of three- to four-day “tracks” in Boston, Chicago, New York City, and the Lehigh Valley. Students apply to be part of a specific track in a specific city. This year, 167 students participated in tracks centered on these fields: life sciences, entrepreneurship/innovation, finance, real estate, legal, media/communications, consumer products, and consulting. Each track gave students the opportunity to attend presentations, tour a variety of workplaces, ask questions, and build connections.
More than 350 professionals from a variety of industries volunteered their time and knowledge to the program, which provides students with exposure to potential careers, opportunities to develop their professional networks, and experience in an urban environment where they may eventually work and live. Gateway partnered with more than 50 employers, many of whom included presentations from campus recruiters.
“Gaining an overview of a particular industry and exposure to potential work environments can enable students to fine-tune their career goals,” says Erin Evans, Gateway Career Center’s director of internships and employer relations. “That valuable insight plus the opportunity to make connections with professionals can give our students a real competitive advantage when pursuing internship and job opportunities. In fact, several students were able to secure internships thanks to the connections made through the program. We are also quite pleased that many of these employers thanked us for bringing the students to their footprint and have signed on again next year.”
Students also gain practical advice they immediately can put into practice, such as how to improve their resumes and build and promote a consistent professional identity by using social media. They also were able to build connections at networking nights held in each location as well as other unique opportunities to interact with influential professionals.
For example, in Boston, after finance track students heard from Swimmer, they met with a Citizens human resources representative who talked about how to apply for the company’s prestigious internship program and told them to directly email her with any questions.
They also heard from a panel of five young analysts, two of whom are recent Lafayette grads. Nick Gates ’17, who double majored in economics and environmental studies, talked about how well the College prepared him for the rigors of the financial world. “The skills and liberal arts background that Lafayette gives you are so valuable as you move into the workplace,” he said during the Q&A.
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