Clarion University is one of five schools in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education that are collaborating to pilot the PASSHE West Virtual Recruitment Campaign.
After PASSHE universities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving classes to remote delivery, Bill Bailey, director of Clarion's Center for Career and Professional Development, and his counterparts from California, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock universities began to discuss ways to continue offering recruitment opportunities to students and alumni, while assisting employer partners in their recruitment efforts.
The career center directors and their respective staffs reached out to nearly 1,000
western Pennsylvania employers, offering to facilitate virtual events through Handshake,
a national recruitment platform for college students.
The collaboration benefits both employers and students. The reach of the employers is expanded to the more than 30,000 students enrolled in the five universities, and the reach of the students is broadened to the entire western Pennsylvania region.
Focusing the efforts of this pilot on western Pennsylvania employers is strategic.
"Our institutions are largely regional; many of our students remain in the commonwealth after graduating, and our regional employers rely on our universities for well-rounded, well-prepared talent," Bailey said. "It was important to start by focusing on western Pennsylvania and possibly expanding from there in later campaigns."
"It has been difficult to switch to online learning and worry about the future of internships with the (pandemic's) effects on the job market," said Olivia Johnson, a junior business student. "The virtual career information sessions will motivate me and help me stay focused on continuing my job and internship search, and to adapt my strategy in light of the current job market."
In addition to sharing employer recruitment and information sessions among themselves, the institutions are opening their virtual career development lessons and presentations to others. PASSHE career center directors in the central and eastern parts of the commonwealth have already expressed interest in implementing similar programs, and expansion to the Western Pennsylvania Career Services Association is also being discussed.
To access links to individual employers' events, Clarion students and alumni can go to www.clarion.edu/handshake.