Career services seems to be the department that does not get enough focus in many of the smaller colleges in US. Sometimes it is an area in which college administrations tend to put the least amount of resources. While larger universities and colleges will have several staff members on career services team and adequate funds allocation, smaller schools will have less than 3 staff members and virtually no fund at their disposal. There are instances where career services team is not able to spend on something that they think can add tremendous value for the students and employers. This is an unfortunate situation considering the fact that the career centers are so critical for the future of the students and the college.
What are the impediments in smaller schools?
Several Career Services staff members often complain that getting approval from Finance and Administrators will take ages and it’s complicated. The top down structure that many schools have often prevents the Career Centers from making recommendations and taking initiatives that involves spending. Without budget allocation and faster approvals, the career services staff members are helpless. Most of the career centers still either use excel sheets or outdated and obsolete CSM applications to manage their day to day activities and employer partner engagement. Career Services need superior technology to engage employers on their campus, manage career center efficiently and be in touch with students assisting them throughout their career preparation. Lack of funds, delayed approvals and usage of poor technology are the major hurdles that the career centers are facing in smaller colleges.
Give career services the much–needed fillip, reap the benefits
Schools should focus on improving their career centers and equipping their staff members with adequate resources. The success of the career center can be quantified in terms of how many students got hired from the campus. A college with higher placement rates will automatically attract more students next academic year. Thus, career services indirectly contribute towards revenue generation and towards the reputation and goodwill. Staff members without any significant decision–making authority and made to use obsolete technology become inefficient and cannot be expected to deliver good results. Add to that the stress and frustration that would build over time due to the chaos of old school style functioning and the obvious lack of job satisfaction.
Career Services team in smaller colleges should have yearly fund allocation that can be used when there is a need without going through a multi-level approval process, get priority approvals for their proposals and suggestions and should be provided with state of the art technology to engage students and employers. An effective and efficient career center is decisive for the future of the students.