Do you know of any student who attends college with no intention of finding a job and working after graduation. There aren’t many. That is because students want three things from their college experiences. They want a good education, an enjoyable college experience and a good job when they graduate.
When it comes to student employment success, most college leaders stand around whistling, with their eyes closed tight and their fingers in their ears. They will tell you that they are doing everything they can. However, most colleges understaff and underfund the career services office. They continue to provide the same services in the same way as they did thirty or forty years ago.
Many colleges fail to track the statistics that will tell them how well they are serving the job search preparation and employment needs of students. They are unwilling to fund and make the changes that are needed to put students in the best position to compete for the best jobs. A single, small department cannot serve the employment needs of thousands of students while everyone else stands around saying, “That’s not my job.”
Do you know of any college that holds itself accountable for the job hunting success of its students? Do you know of any college that proudly tells students about the employment successes of large numbers of recent graduates? Do you know of any college that publishes the employment statistics (numbers and dollars) of their graduates in every individual major that they offer?
Until college leaders begin to take responsibility for the results that students achieve in the job market, little will change. The Boards of Trustees must come to understand that landing a good job is an important student need that can be dramatically improved. Why would a Board of Trustees not focus on and do something about a legitimate and important student need?
Parents do not want their children to attend a college where few students graduate with good jobs? I doubt that Board members think that this is a good idea either. And yet, taking bold steps to help students learn how to prepare for and conduct a comprehensive and effective job search is not an area of concern at most colleges. That has to change.
There are ways to help college leaders get the message about student employment needs. Parents and students can a) Write to the Career Services Office to ask for the employment statistics of students who recently graduated with the major(s) that concern them, with copies to the College President and the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees., 2) Write to the College President to ask about your student employment concerns, with a copy to the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
Colleges are defined by the people who run them. Importantly, parents and students have the responsibility to communicate their needs, likes and dislikes and judge each college and its leaders by how well they serve their students. Since employment success is a critical student need, colleges must be held accountable for the employment success of their students.