Time For College Leaders To Step Up

Colleges that have delegated the job search preparation and student employment functions to a single department with a one employee or less for each one thousand students cannot possibly believe that they are being successful in providing the information, training and guidance that students deserve and need.

Students want only three things: 1) A good education, 2) An enjoyable college experience, and 3) A good job when they graduate. With that in mind, students need and want leaders who believe in them, stand up for them, fight for them and want them to be successful in everything they do. For students, success means not only graduating with a good education, it also means graduating with a good job, one that will help fulfill their dreams and launch their careers. College leaders who will not or cannot effectively address the needs of their students in all three areas will be remembered for their inflexibility, shortcomings and failures rather than their effectiveness, forward thinking and successes.

Students need college leaders who not only claim innovation, agility and flexibility in their strategic plans, they need leaders who demonstrate those qualities by fully and enthusiastically addressing the employment preparation needs of their students. Unfortunately, too many college students see leaders who accept and even encourage understaffed, underfunded, uninspired and very limited employment preparation efforts that reach too few students and force many good students to enter the job market unprepared to compete for the jobs that pay a living rate. For large numbers of students to find employment success, the entire college community must come together to provide the information, training and guidance that is needed. Does that happen at your college?

College leaders must be expected to anticipate and adjust to the changing needs of students. Helping large numbers of students prepare for their senior year job search is an important part of the job. When two thirds (or more) of your students do not know how to prepare for and conduct a comprehensive and effective job search and have not done the things that employers need, want and expect, something is terribly wrong.

The willingness of college leaders to go the extra mile and help students successfully launch their careers will always be seen as adding great value to the college experience. No longer can colleges, even those with praiseworthy academic programs, ignore what is obvious to students and parents. Students want and need good jobs when they graduate. It is time for college leaders to step up, recognize the need and address that need with enthusiasm and determination.

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