Lehigh’s Center for Career and Professional Development relocated from Rauch Business Center to the fifth floor of Maginnes Hall at the beginning of the fall semester.
Lori Kennedy, the senior director of career and professional development, said the move to the new space is part of a larger vision and reinvention of the career center.
She said moving from Rauch to Maginnes has been a three-year plan. The center’s team hoped to make the Center for Career and Professional Development more accessible on campus and have a more functional space to serve students and industry partners.
“The (Center for Career and Professional Development) team has been thinking very creatively about new ways that we can deliver our services to students so we both reach more students and impact more students,” Kennedy said.
The center has created a number of new strategies to reach both undergraduate and graduate students over the course of their time at Lehigh to ensure they have career development.
The Center for Career and Professional Development offers a career lab students can use on a walk-in basis to ask questions and work on anything from career exploration to job offers and salary negotiations.
“We utilize the labs so students can come in and work with our career interns, who are students as well,” Director of Career Education Karen Kuczynski said. “We use it as an opportunity for students to learn from each other.”
The center also increased its number of interview rooms, so students can now sign up to utilize one of those eight spaces for phone or Skype interviews.
“We’re really happy because it provides a more professional setting for students so they can easily focus while talking to employers,” career intern Isabelle-Gage Marshall, ‘20, said.
The team also explores the impact of technology on career success.
The Career Center introduced the Handshake platform in fall 2017, which offers better functionality for students and automatically increased all internships and full-time job postings by 300 percent.
In spring 2018, the center launched a mentoring platform powered by People Grove called Lehigh Connects. Lehigh Connects consists of more than 3,000 alumni who mentor current students or fellow alumni.
This year, the center launched the Career Success Program through Pearson Education, which offers eight milestones that provide different career learning outcomes. The program includes another platform called Interstride, which focuses on the needs of Lehigh’s international students.
The team is working to provide online documentation for students’ career-related learning through digital badging, which is used to indicate students’ skills and certifications.
While the office relocation has not resulted in an increase in the center’s staff, there has been a reorganization in career coaching.
In the past, the center used a generalist model to assign a student with the first available career coach, but it has now altered this approach so there are different coaches aligned with each of the colleges.
“This way, the career coaches become experts and they start knowing the students really well and understanding the timelines of when internships will deadline,” Kennedy said.
Career coaches also work closely with faculty from the different colleges, as they offer insight through presentations to different classes on campus.
“They act as ambassadors on behalf of the center and get more students aware of what we offer,” Marshall said. “They have been really crucial in getting more kids in the door.”
Students in every class are encouraged to utilize the career center’s resources.
“They gave a lot of helpful tips about resumes and also explained the resources that students are encouraged to use,” Caitlyn Wagner, ‘23, said after a presentation by the center. “The Career Center is helpful for even just proofreading a resume.”
With these new platforms and resources now available, Kennedy, Kuczynski and Marshall hope the Lehigh community will take advantage of these opportunities while they’re enrolled here.
“We want students to know that we come here every day, thinking about their success,” Kennedy said. “We want them to develop a relationship with the team and to take advantage of all of these resources because there are incredible people and resources that are here to support them.”
The Career and Professional Development Center is open from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, while the Career Lab is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.