Career Explorations - UNC Asheville

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					                         Career Explorations
                                      Facing the Job Market
                              How does an Asheville entrepreneur start-      the role of facilitator to ensure students
                           ing a high-tech Internet company quickly find     and companies are a good fit for each other.
                           new employees who meet his requirements?          The center offers career development services,
                              And how does a UNC Asheville undergradu-       guidance and career planning strategies
                           ate about to enter the workforce with a freshly   including networking opportunities and
                           minted diploma find that perfect job that will    internships. The Career Center is there to
                           launch a meaningful and successful career?        help alumni as well, no matter how long it’s
                              The answer for both can be found at the        been since they have thrown a Frisbee on
                           UNC Asheville Career Center, which serves         the Quad.

                                                               By ArNold WENGroW

                                                             Photos By tIM BurlEsoN

18   UNC asheville M A G A Z I N E
    Local entrepreneur Bill Ward, founder     departments to see if they had students     oNE stoP for CArEEr rEsourCEs
of BUILDERadius, has found that his           they would recommend. Soon after, the           The Career Center isn’t just about con-
company has benefitted from a close part-     Career Center sent the company a folder      necting students to potential employers,
nership with the Career Center, and as a      filled with resumes of well-qualified        however. “We don’t consider ourselves
result about a quarter of the company’s       potential hires.                             a placement center,” Waltemyer said.
workforce of 48 employees are UNC             NEtWorkING WIth EMPloyErs                   “We’re a resource in the job search, intern-
Asheville graduates.                             Working with employers like               ships search and career exploration
    Why? Kristie Price, who is in charge      BUILDERadius is one of the Career            process.”
of hiring at BUILDERardius’ newest            Center’s primary strategies for placing          Buecher agrees. “We are the one-stop
division BuildFax, says it’s the liberal      graduates with employers. Assistant          shop for any type of career decision
arts background that UNC Asheville is         Director Holly Waltemyer also regularly      making for students and alumni,” she
known for. “We need people who are            attends meetings of the Asheville Area       said. “And we offer lifetime access for all
curious about the world and know how to       Chamber of Commerce and the Western          alumni.”
develop relationships … ”                     North Carolina Human Resource                   The Career Center doesn’t wait until
    Price said the partnership with UNC       Association both to find leads for place-    students are ready to look for a job. “We
Asheville grew organically. “Some of the      ment, and to talk about the kinds of         work with them as early as the first week
first people we hired were from the uni-      students UNC Asheville is producing—         of their first year,” Buecher said, “mak-
versity, and they worked out so well, we      students who are ready to hit the ground     ing presentations about career decision
decided to go to the Career Center.”          running.                                     making in the introductory liberal studies
    Here’s how the process worked: A             On campus, Waltemyer organizes job,       courses all freshman take.” She estimates
BUILDERadius team sat down with               career and graduate school fairs each        that though her staff is small they reach
Career Center Director Eileen Buecher to      semester, which attract up to 100 non-       80 percent of freshmen and 60 percent of
go over job descriptions and the skill sets   profits, businesses and organizations.       transfer students.
needed. Price was impressed by the
extra steps Buecher took. She posted
the positions as a first step but
then talked to professors in specific

                                                Left to right: Jerome Hughes ’10,

                                                Sheila Steelman ’10 and Cortland
                                               Mercer ’10 prepare for mock interviews
                                                at the Career Center.
         The UNC Asheville Alumni                    what she wanted to pursue. Working           pursue non-profit service, she said, and
     Association has stepped up its efforts to       with Waltemyer and the Career Center         in preparation she is taking courses in
     assist the Career Center, and in the past       inspired her to look in many directions.     public policy, civil liberties and individual
     year 337 alums have helped with Career             “Holly is my counselor,” she said. “We    rights.
     Center events and programming, while            talked a lot about what I was doing, what WIN-WIN-WIN
     132 alumni are registered as mentors            I enjoy doing, taking some assessments.         For students searching for career
     available to help give advice to students       That really helped.” Waltemyer also          options, for alumni rethinking their
     in their chosen fields.                         encouraged her to become involved with career paths or offering mentoring
         One such alumni effort has been par-        HOLA, the student Latino service and         service to current students, and for busi-
     ticularly successful. The “World of Work”       advocacy group on campus. She is now         nesses seeking employees with workforce
     is essentially an annual field trip that con-   co-president.                               -ready skills, the Career Center has
     nects students considering jobs in cities          “We tutor Latino students at Asheville    provided an array of opportunities. In
     like Chicago, Washington or New York            High,” she said, “and raise funds for        fact, in a recent survey of graduating
     with local alumni to discover job oppor-        Nuestro Centro,” the Buncombe County         seniors, the Career Center was given a
     tunities and to network. Another popular        organization that helps Latinos in the       satisfaction rating of about 87 percent—
     program is the “How to Find a Job” series       Asheville area. “That work is something      higher than the average for the entire
     that provides seniors “speed network-           that has taken precedence in my life over UNC system.
     ing” opportunities in North Carolina            everything else. The Career Center has          In challenging economic times, that’s
     cities, including Asheville, Charlotte and      been supportive in that effort.”             good news for graduates seeking lifelong
     Raleigh.                                            That volunteer experience has            careers and for companies seeking well-
         The results: According to the most          inspired what likely will be a career path. rounded employees who are adaptable
     recent figures available, an estimated          There’s a good chance that Lemus will        and ready to succeed.
     72 percent of the 2006–07
     class secured employment or
     pursued additional education
     within one year of graduation.
     The top employment catego-
     ries include education, fine/
     performing arts, marketing/
     sales/advertising, nonprofits
     and heath care. Top employ-
     ers include Mission
     Hospitals, BUILDERadius,
     Biltmore Estate, Clear
     Channel Communications,
     AmeriCorps, Peace Corp.,
     Home Trust Bank, NEMAC,
     Grove Park Inn and the North
     Carolina public school system.
     rEAChING out
        Gabriela Lemus, a junior               2008–09 Career Center Statistics
     from Hickory, discovered
                                               Career Center counselors and volunteer advisers conducted 1,136 individual
     new interests and her
                                               appointments. Some 27 percent of appointments were with UNC Asheville alumni.
     leadership potential at UNC
     Asheville, although when                  More than 1,584 job, internship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities were posted
     she arrived she was not sure              online for students and alumni. these were viewed some 47,600 times.
                                               About 87 percent of seniors report a high level of satisfaction with the Career Center.
                                               189 employers, alumni and professionals visited campus to provide job, internship and
                                               graduate school information to students.
20    UNC asheville M A G A Z I N E

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