New program connects students with jobs


COURTESY Angela Sheridon

New program connects students with jobs

By Campus Reporter

Many Students often dread the thought of employment after graduation, but a new program offered by the Portfolio Center may help alleviate such concerns.

On-the-spot hiring and recruiting will be made possible on campus through a new initiative that introduces companies with immediate hiring needs and Columbia students seeking employment.

Here to Hire, a pop-up series organized by the Portfolio Center beginning the week of Feb. 23, was created after employers from local businesses and organizations expressed interest in wanting to come to campus and engage with students who were looking for work, said Angela Sheridon, employment coordinator at the Portfolio Center.

Sheridon said there is no set number of events they planned but she hopes to have employers on campus every few weeks to talk with students.

According to a Feb. 3 Here to Hire press release, the first event will include presentations from nonprofit organizations including the Peace Corps and the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Future events will feature visits from businesses in the creative fields, such as Bloomingdale’s and Leo Burnett.

Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Success, said events like Here to Hire are important additions to the college and correspond with President Kwang-Wu Kim’s vision.

“Dr. Kim has made it clear that he wants the college [to be] better focused on the career development of our students and their employability upon graduation,” Kelly said. “To respond to that challenge, there are all kinds of new structures, thinking and programs that need to be put in place. This is just one example of new thinking and new programs.”

Christie Andersen Asif, executive director of Career Initiatives, said the Here to Hire program is important for all students, not just those who are approaching graduation.

“Getting direct, face-to-face access to people in a hiring position is important, and it’s also really tricky,” she said. “People who have started applying for jobs have probably found that when you apply online, sometimes you go into a black hole.”

The focus of this initiative is that unlike the annual job fair or the new Portfolio Day, businesses will only make appearances at the events if they are currently hiring or recruiting, according to Andersen Asif.

Sheridon said one of the positive differences with Here to Hire is that students are informed of the companies attending ahead of time and can do research on those employers.

Preparedness has been an issue with past Portfolio Center events that the office is trying to help students overcome, according to Dirk Matthews, associate director of the Portfolio Center.

“Students have struggled with preparedness for events in the past,” Matthews said. “Sometimes they don’t have professional materials ready, other times it’s about what the expectations are, and finally, it’s about not knowing how to talk to a professional. A student can be incredibly talented, but they also have to understand ways to communicate their talent.”

Sheridon said that while any students may attend, events like these are important for seniors who may be focusing more on graduating, which might make it difficult for them to make job searching a priority.

Jaclyn Sirotiak, a senior fashion studies major, said she would be interested in attending Here to Hire events because finding work after graduation is a concern for her.

“I think it would definitely give [seniors] the opportunity to get better jobs starting right out of college instead of working all the way up from the bottom,” Sirotiak said. “It would give more of a reason for kids to come to Columbia, too.”

Kelly said the administration hopes to see an increase in employers on campus recruiting Columbia students through this new program.

“We’re a hotbed of creative talent and we need to connect that talent to opportunities out there,” Kelly said.