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/
and heath care. Top employ-
ers include Mission
Biltmore Estate, Clear
AmeriCorps, Peace Corp.,
Home Trust Bank, NEMAC,
Grove Park Inn and the North
Carolina public school system.
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