Spring Career Connect

Chelsea Jacobson and Mayra Najera of Educational Services District 112 talk to Clark student Yaki and future student Leticia about job opportunities.

Clark students, alumni, community members, and local employers participated in Clark’s Career Connect event geared for students enrolled or interested in programs in the college’s Public Service, Society and Education area of study on May 7 in PUB 161.

Advising Services, Career Services, and Student Success Coaches worked together to staff the event and assist students. These departments partnered with faculty to coordinate timing for the event that would make the most sense for Education student participation.  Faculty also participated in the event as one of the important supportive resources for students in this area of study.

The Career Services team organized the event: Emily Meoz, Trisha Haakonstad, Niira Krupnick, and Alex Kison, with support from student employee Liz Knapp. Kison led logistics.

In 2023, the Career Services team hosted a large-scale Career Fair in Gaiser Student Center that included all the college’s departments and programs. This year, the team is creating smaller events called “Career Connect” focused on only one or two areas of study per event. The first Career Connect in March focused on the Business and Entrepreneurship area of study.

Emily Meoz, director of Advising and Career Services, said, “After hosting two Career Connect events in the last few months, we are optimistic that the format of these smaller scale and more focused area of study events will create tangible opportunities for students and community members to make meaningful career and academic connections. We plan to offer Career Connect events for every area of study at Clark during the 2024-2025 academic year.” 

Connecting with Clark’s services

BASTE Student Dana Bunnell talks with Student Success Coach DJ Scates.

During the Career Connect event, Clark student Dana Bunnell chatted with DJ Scates, one of Clark’s three Student Success Coaches who work with students on time management, study skills, goal setting, and more.

Bunnell graduated from Clark College with an associate degree in early childhood education in June 2023. Now she has nearly completed her first year in Clark’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Teacher Education (BASTE) program. It’s the next step on her career path to become a teacher.

Like most Clark students, Bunnell has become an expert multitasker who squeezes time for schoolwork between caregiving for family members, household responsibilities, and more. But even an experienced multitasker can learn new practices to make her more productive and her life less stressful. Scates stepped up to help.

Connecting with employers

As students checked in, they were given a list of sample questions that make it easier for students to practice talking with a potential employer about opportunities. Questions include:

  • What qualifications do you typically look for in candidates?
  • What type of college major or degree/certificate is valuable in this industry or typical positions you hire for?
  • Are there professional organizations or connection events/opportunities that you suggest I know about?

Students also received a Career Connect BINGO card that identified specific tasks to complete at the event. These included having a conversation with an employer, learning about a job opportunity, and receiving guidance from an academic advisor.

Then, with questions and BINGO cards in hand, students entered PUB 161, where local employers were ready to talk with students about job opportunities. The following employers participated in Career Connect:

Simone Thomas of iUrban Teen spoke with students about opportunities in early education via its Future Teacher Pathways Fellowship.
  • Vancouver Public Schools talked with students about paraeducators to work with children in a variety of settings, from classroom to playground.
  • Educational Services District 112 spoke with students about job opportunities including special education paraeducators, bus drivers, secretaries, and more.
  • Washington DSHS Behavioral Health Administration talked about 250 positions the agency will hire to work at a new residential treatment center opening in spring 2025 near WSU Vancouver.
  • Educational Opportunities for Children & Families (EOCF) talked to students about positions including Early Head Start teacher assistant, preschool bus driver, preschool teacher assistant, and more.
  • iUrban Teen shared their Future Teachers Pathway Fellowship program with students. This paid work-based learning opportunity for young adults to provide academic support and mentorship to elementary and middle school students is in partnership with the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation, Vancouver Public Schools, and other local school districts.

Make connections

Advising Services: advising@clark.edu or (360) 992-2345 or GHL 108
Career Services: careerservices@clark.edu or (360) 992-2902 or GHL 108
Student Success Coaches: Schedule a session here

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish