Since its creation a year ago, the Career Coaching Network at the Institute has improved the ability of faculty and staff to assist in students’ job searches and provide advice regarding
important career decisions.
As Tech students prepare to enter the workforce, many face tough decisions about the next steps of their careers.
The Career Center exists to help with these choices, but students may seek other resources like their academic advisors
Wanting to better prepare these members of the Tech community for questions on students’ career search, the Career Center launched their coaching network last fall.
“It’s a ‘train the trainer’ concept,” said Laura Garcia, Director of Career Education in the
Tech Career Center.
“We realize that there are not enough people that work in a career center that can always meet students’ needs and the exact time in which they need it,” Garcia said. “The Career Coaching Network purpose is to create a forum where you can share best practices and also make faculty and staff aware of a variety of resources students have available to them.”
The Career Center recognizes that there are not enough career advisors to serve all students individually, so they decided to follow a nationwide trend of better preparing other faculty and staff to answer career-related questions.
Students may also feel more comfortable discussing important career decisions with their professors and advisors, so making these individuals aware of career search resources will better inform
the advice they give.
The Career Coaching Network’s training programs usually take place before and after the semesters and are divided
into two sections.
The first half of the program is a presentation focused on supporting students through their job search, and highlights how the Career Center typically helps students. The covered topics include major and career exploration, resumes and interviewing.
The second half of the program has panelists from around campus to discuss different resources and types of student needs.
Garcia stated that this section aims to “bring together experts in different areas of campus so they can also share about their experience and answer some of the questions that are coming in from faculty and staff.”
Shorter sessions are also offered throughout the semesters to delve more into specific topics.
Garcia reported that many academic advisors and professors were unsure of how to respond to students’ questions, especially when confronted with
more complex ones.
“Our hope is that, over time, more faculty and staff will go through the training so they’re aware of the ways that we can help them and also give them information that they can directly share with students,” Garcia said.
Over 50 people participated in the training sessions towards the beginning of the year, and Garcia believes more faculty and staff will continue to join the Career Coaching Network.
Many faculty and staff were thankful for the opportunity to learn about career resources for students. In an article published by the Office of Undergraduate Education, one staff member said she “did not feel confident that [she] understood the newest job search resources and strategies,” but the Career Coaching Network can update its participants on these ways of support.
Garcia also said that all participants reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the program.
While each training session has a general structure and included resources, they are also customized to what the participants most want to learn about. Garcia said they provide faculty and staff a frame of reference through the training and try to address more specific
issues they have faced.
She also reminds participants that the Tech Career Center is another resource for both them and students at any time.
Faculty and staff that have gone through the training receive stickers to display that they have completed the program, and Garcia hopes this will encourage the students to reach out to these individuals more for career advice.
While students do not directly participate in the training, Garcia said they can recommend for faculty and staff around them to attend a training session, and she hopes students will be more
aware of this initiative.
“Our next hope is to start offering the training [sessions] to colleges,” Garcia said, as this would allow the programs to be more specific and the Career Center could also bring in potential employers for students in the college to speak.
“We’re hoping it will gain more traction and it may
expand,” Garcia said.
The next training sessions will be on Dec. 14 and Jan. 25.
Before then, there will be shorter Career Conversation sessions on Oct. 27 and Nov. 8 discussing how students become top candidates and which companies are hiring