Career Center: Core Competency and Cost Center, or Enrollment/ Retention/ Revenue Opportunity?

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1 Career Center: Core Competency and Cost Center, or Enrollment/ Retention/ Revenue Opportunity? Evaluating opportunities to hold down costs, and to better serve students, grads, and alumni by outsourcing services that are not part of the core competency of your career center while increasing enrollment, retention and revenue. by Don Philabaum

2 It s impossible for your career center to focus on ALL of these responsibilities and still make an impact on the lives of students, grads and alumni! 2

3 Index Executive Summary 4 Ten ideas we will explore 6 Research shows that the current career services model is broken 8 Legislation, parents, and students are looking for change 12 Investments in career services are set to explode 14 Outsourcing career services offers more services at lower cost 16 What an outsourced relationship might look like 18 Career centers focus on core competencies 21 Career centers can focus on building a culture focused on careers 22 Career centers with outsourced relationships will be more efficient 23 Outsourcing will generate revenue 24 Summary 27 Next steps 29 About 30 3

4 Executive Summary These are TOUGH times for graduates! In 2007, over 60% of grads had jobs by graduation day. Today, depending on the survey source, as few as 30%-40% of grads have jobs lined up by graduation day. Further, according to National Association of Colleges and Employers 2012 survey, even 6 months after graduation as few as 63.6 % will have jobs. Even more distressing news is evidenced by a survey of recent grads conducted by the Associated Press that showed 53% of those under 25 are either unemployed or underemployed! Why are your grads having such a hard time finding employment? We live in different times, with different technologies, behaviors and an economy that has not only seen a reduction in blue collar jobs, but is seeing a severe squeeze on white collar jobs. It s a much more competitive employment environment today and organizations are able to employ competent global talent for one tenth of the cost of employing domestic workers. And there are more reasons: Companies today are taking advantage of new technologies to handle and automate white collar and entry level jobs. The software that powers Apple s SIRI and IBM s Big Blue Project are capable of handling jobs that once required warm-blooded humans. But now, one piece of software can do the jobs of thousands of people, and that software never needs a day off, never gets sick, and never needs a raise, health care, or even office space. The automation of the white collar job is slowing down the job creation engine that faithfully created an average 138,000 jobs per month from 1970 until the economy tanked in On top of that, graduates today are not only competing with 1.7 million fellow graduates, but also the 24 million unemployed and under-employed. They are also competing with people who had temporarily dropped out of the job market and are exploring coming back to work as the market improves. They are competing for jobs with the 8 million people who were displaced in the economic downturn in Then, to make matters worse, many boomers who thought they would be retiring are finding they must keep their jobs because their retirement assets have been negatively affected during the economic downturn. This is 4

5 preventing workers in positions below them from moving up, which normally would have opened more opportunities for entry-level college graduates. The job search process has changed! While hiring managers still review resumes, albeit through software that searches for unique keywords and phrases, they are increasingly using social media to find and evaluate prospective employees. Today, a graduating student needs to have a sharp resume, a clear understanding about how to build his or her network and interview well, and the knowledge to master and professionally use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. For those lucky graduates who do land a job--according the people who hire them-- most don t have the soft skills they need to successfully transition from the college dorm to corporate cubicle. Any one of these changes can have a lifelong effect on a graduate, but taken collectively, they present a significant barrier to relevant employment and a successful careers. It s not going to get any better! According to the Department of Labor Statistics Employment Projections: Summary released in December 2013: Two-thirds of the 30 occupations with the largest projected employment increase from 2012 to 2022 typically do not require postsecondary education for entry. Nearly two-thirds of the job openings are expected to be in occupations that typically do not require postsecondary education for entry. What does this mean to the 1.7 million college graduates each year? In the next decade, they will continue, like today s graduates, to struggle not only to find jobs, but to find jobs that are relevant to their interests and majors. 5

6 Ten ideas we ll explore. It s clear that these problems and issues are not going to go away anytime soon. The observations and recommendations in this report are based on research and surveys of employers, career professionals, and grads. The facts, stats and information confirm that grads are clueless about how to find jobs and lack the skills for successful campus-to-corporate transitions. Unless your campus addresses this situation, it will negatively affect enrollment, alumni satisfaction and contributions. One way your campus can better position your graduates is by making strategic investments in staffing, while at the same time outsourcing services that the career center does not consider a core competency. You won t find a step-by-step formula concerning how to approach the situation in this report, but you will take away a high-level understanding of the overall process, as well as the risks and costs of conducting business as usual. If you are short on time, here are some basic things you can do to make students on your campus better prepared for the jobs the Department of Education s research indicates they will have by the time each of them is 38 years old: 1. Make career exploration, planning and execution a central part of the campus culture. 2. Require students to take ownership of their careers from the minute each of them steps onto campus. 3. Build relationships across campus and with faculty to integrate career experiences into your campus s curriculum. 4. Invest more resources in the career center and students. 5. Adopt a four-year career curriculum. 6. Outsource services the career center does not consider a core competency. 7. Put career services in the clouds and make it available anytime, anyplace and through any device. 8. Collect employment data and analyze big data to adjust curriculum. 9. Offer a more intensive career-services experience and charge a fee, much like you charge lab fees and other fees. 6

7 10. Get parents engaged in encouraging students to invest time in career exploration, learn career planning, conduct job searches and sharpen career management skills. Colleges and universities that move in this direction will: Increase retention and graduate more students on time. Increase the number of students with internships and grads with jobs by graduation day. Hold down costs while providing more services. Generate revenue from the career center. Increase enrollment. Increase contributions. Does that sound like something you d like to do at your campus? Then join me for a comprehensive overview of the power and potential of outsourcing those services your career center does not consider a core competency in order to help more students obtain internships, get grads jobs and put alumni on paths towards leading successful careers. I guarantee your admissions team will have a powerful message to share with prospective students and their parents! Don Philabaum For a detailed look at how you can help transition your campus to one that focuses on careers, read my book, Change It! Create a Career Centered College Culture. 7

8 Research shows the current career services model is broken. Contrary to what some people think, man was not born with the right skills to look for jobs. To my knowledge, no geneticist has found the job-search gene in human DNA. Career exploration, job search and career planning are learned skills and activities, that are getting more complicated and competitive, yet few colleges or students invest any time in them. Based on the lack of institutional investment in the career centers and the diminutive role they plays on campuses around the country, I can only assume that administrators and parents are assuming that students and grads will figure the increasingly complicated and competitive job search process, on their own! But it isn t happening! Surveys by John J. Heldrich Workforce Development and Adecco show students regret that they didn't spend more time networking with alumni and searching for jobs prior to graduating. 8

9 Surveys by TalentMarks show that 95 percent of grads do not have a clear understanding about how to get a job, and as a result, they waste hours on job boards. Why is this? Research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that in their senior years: 27 percent of seniors don t even visit the career center percent visit once percent visit twice. That represents more than 61 percent of graduating seniors! Use of the career center by freshman, sophomores and juniors is even more anemic! The lack of career education during college and post-graduation is making life unnecessarily miserable for a majority of grads! Why are students not taking ownership of their careers while in college? The answer is simple: The culture on campus does not focus on careers! As a result, students invest their time in the activities, curriculum and assignments that are required to get them to graduation day. The career center is not a required activity. It's just like any other club on campus that has to market to students to build awareness about the need to take ownership of their careers and inform them about the many events and activities the career center offers. This is contributing to thousands-- no, hundreds of thousands-- no, millions-- of grads who start their professional careers without the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to launch those careers successfully. Research proves it! A 2012 study commissioned by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, shows that many hiring decision-makers believe that the post-secondary education system could do a better job in preparing students for the workplace. The study showed 39% of hiring managers believe higher education is doing a fair or poor job preparing grads for their careers. 9

10 In a shocking survey (Effectively Counseling Graduating Students) of nearly 600 career center directors, the Career Advisory Board found: 48.1 percent felt their grads did not have the knowledge and skills needed to get a job. 83 percent thought their grads resumes were not ready to share percent did not think their students grasped what it takes to get jobs. It s clear that system is broken, yet career center professionals are powerless to fix it! On top of students lack of participation in career management, colleges and universities are not providing the resources to their career centers to adapt to the changing times. In fact, if Walt Cleaver, father to Wally and Beaver, from the poplar 50 s/60 s TV hit show, Leave it to Beaver, took the Beave to a career center near their hometown of Mayfield, he d see little has changed in the career center in the past ½ century. At a time when you need it the most, your career center is likely being forced to take budget cuts. The National Association of Colleges and Employers Career Center Benchmark Survey reported the average career center took a 15.5 percent budget cut in the academic year. How does this affect your graduates? They waste time doing the wrong things looking for a job. A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that it took the average grad from the Class of months to get a job. Few students, nor those in leadership positions at their colleges and universities, understand the financial impact of not having jobs by graduation day. Think about it: A graduate that is paid $3,000 to $4,000 per month during his or her first professional job would have earned $22,200 to $29,600 more than the average student if he or she landed a job by graduation day. That's enough to pay back most students loans! Let s take this to the next level and see the effect on an entire graduating class of 500 students. Collectively the students will lose out on $13,500,000 in salary! In a blog article, I shared the fact that if indeed this number is correct, the 1.7 million grads each year lose out on 50 BILLION dollars in salary, partly because they didn t start exploring career options, networking, and learning how to execute and manage the job search process from their arrival times on campus. 10

11 This is a lose, lose situation! These are very difficult times for your graduates, but this is also a critical time for your college or university. Without a plan or overall strategy to fix the problems graduates are facing, your organization is certain to see decreasing enrollment, retention, graduation rates and contributions. The end result could be catastrophic for even decades-old institutions. In a December 2013 New York Times essay, Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor and champion of disruptive innovation, suggested that the "bottom 25 percent of every tier" of colleges will disappear or merge in the next 10 to 15 years. It doesn t have to be this way. If your organization focuses on giving students what they want and prove that it works, tyou can charge whatever they want for educations and students and parents will pay the fees. Colleges and universities like yours have a fantastic opportunity to get ahead of these issues by creating a college culture focused on careers. Some small changes will reap a lifetime of rewards for alumni and the college. It starts with listening to the needs of employers, students, families, and legislatures. 11

12 Legislation, parents, students and the media will force change. We are living in a time where pressure from both state and federal legislatures, as well as the demands of parents, students and alumni will require colleges and universities to help more students not only find jobs upon graduation, but find jobs that are relevant to their majors. One does not have to read tea leaves to see that future funding for higher education will be tied to the number of students who: 1. Make it to graduation day. 2. Graduate on time. 3. Graduate with jobs. 4. Get jobs relevant to their majors. 5. Get jobs that allow them to pay back their student loans. In my home state of Ohio, Governor John Kasich pulled together the presidents of all community colleges and state colleges and tasked them with developing a formula he could use to introduce legislation which would reward colleges for graduating students - not enrolling them. In a kickoff meeting with the presidents, Kasich said: We all know that we can all do better on graduation rates and there's been some movement on creating a new formula. We hope we can speed up the process so that we can fund higher education based on graduation rather than based on enrollment." For-profit colleges now face legislation passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate which requires them to collect and submit data showing the effectiveness of the education they are providing. The "Gainful Employment" bill passed in June 2011, requires for-profit colleges to prove the education they are providing will not only get their graduates jobs that are relevant to their areas of study, but those that provide a sufficient salary to enable them to pay daily living expenses and still be able to pay back their student loans. Students and parents are also evaluating the return on investment a college degree will provide. The UCLA Higher Education Research Institute conducted a survey of freshman students concerning why students pursue higher education. The 2013 poll showed that more than 88% 12

13 of college freshman surveyed cited a desire to get a job as the principal reason why they were going to college. Enrollment managers are scrambling to find successful stats, policies and procedures they can spin into recruiting messages. Even the media is drawing attention to this issue. US World and News Report collected data that showed only 55.2% of all 2011 law graduates had a full time job that required a law degree. Reacting to this and reports of law school graduates suing their institutions, US World and News Report announced an agreement with the American Bar Association to collect graduation employment data and include it in their ranking formulas. Law schools with poor grad employment will see their ranks drop. It's only a matter of time before colleges and universities like yours also have to ramp up spending on the career center. 13

14 Investments in Career Centers set to explode Financial commitments and staffing levels in the career center have been traditionally small per student; in comparison to spending on recruiting students, athletics and other student services, from health to recreation centers and student clubs. According to a 2011 study by Noel-Levits, fouryear private colleges and universities continued to spend the most to bring in new undergraduates in , spending $2,185 per new student at the median. They also continued to use the most staff per new student, with a ratio of one FTE staff member for every 33 new students at the median. Yet, surveys by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2011 show that in both state and private colleges, the median budget for career centers was a paltry $31,000. (Figure does not include salaries) Spread across 1,500 students, this level of spending represents only $20 per student. How does this look to the student or parent who is evaluating your college? It provides a striking testament to where your campus priorities are. A small budget limits the ability for career professionals to coach and advise students. According to the NACE Career Center Benchmark Survey, the average student-toprofessional staff ratio is 1,645 to 1. At colleges with fewer than 1,000 students, that number is a more manageable 366, but at colleges with 20,000 students or more, there is one professional staff member for every 5,876 students! In this new environment, in order to be competitive in recruiting and to match the demands of a new consumer and political environment, your career center will need to hire more career advisors, provide online career courses and content, and develop a four-year curriculum students can follow that will ensure they have completed the steps necessary to explore career opportunities, acquire job search skills, create written career plans and build professional networks. 14

15 With an average cost of $50,000 in salary and benefits per counselor, small colleges and universities could spend $200,000 and large universities could be forced to invest more than $750,000 a year in additional staff. But how can your college find the money to improve when it is facing significant budget pressures? The good news is that your college administrators don t face sequestration-style budgeting where all departments have to take a 10 percent cut. Administrators have the ability to shift money around to areas that are deemed important to the current mission and goals of the organization. For example, many athletic departments are seeing increases in funding while other departments on campus are taking reductions. Take the University of Cincinnati as an example. According to an article in USA Today, students at the University of Cincinnati pay $ per semester of their student fees specifically for athletics. On top of that, the university puts about $15 million more from general funds into athletics. Knowing that money has to come from somewhere, let s assume it s coming from student tuition. To determine how much money is put into athletics per student, all we have to do is divide the 31,000 full-time undergraduates into the $15 million athletic budget which give us another $484 that each student invests in athletics instead of career preparation. Regardless of where the money is coming from, the college is committing $ per undergraduate to support athletics. Career center professionals would weep for joy if their department received this kind of support! While athletics are a very important part of the culture and student life, spending per athlete is significant. The Knight Commission s research has shown that Division I schools with football spent $91,936 per athlete in Imagine what your career center could do with even 1/100 of that amount per student. There can only be a couple colleges that are over the top in prestige, skill, and carry a winning history like Alabama, Texas and Ohio State. Colleges that are in a race to compete with infrastructure, coaching staff, and support staff are never going to get a stellar return on their investments. Neither will students and grads. There is money to be found on campus, either by shifting funds or charging fees. In an effort to increase retention, the University of Toledo hired success coaches to keep freshmen and sophomore students on track and in college. The program was funded from discretionary general funds and costs approximately $77 per student. 15

16 Money is available. It all depends on what issues management wants to solve. We are hoping to see more money diverted to your career center where students will see a lifetime of return on investments. Outsourcing career services offers more services at lower costs Over the past decade, your college administrators have been under enormous pressure to cut costs and generate more revenue. One way institutions have been cutting costs is by finding tasks that are not part of their core competencies and outsourcing them to organizations that specialize in those services. Way back in the 1950 s, colleges and universities started outsourcing their cafeterias. Today, over 1,500 colleges and universities have partnered with either Barnes and Noble, or Follett Corporation to manage their bookstores; another 500 colleges have outsourced their computer help desks to companies like Perceptis and others, and are exploring ways they can share non-competitive administrative costs including payroll, copy centers, parking, transportation systems, campus arenas, recreation centers, residence halls, IT and yes, even admissions! In the burgeoning online course market, colleges and universities like yours are partnering with outsourced providers for their expertise and speed to market. Academic Partnerships, Embanet, Colloquy, Total Online Program Service, Bisk Education, Compass Knowledge Group, 2tor, and many more are becoming partners in the online course quest. Some estimate that as many as 60 percent of all campus services are outsourced in some fashion. This trend requires colleges to re-examine their complete operations strategies to see what could be done better and at less cost through outsourcing or a shared-services framework. In an article in Educause, Luis M. Proenza, President of The University of Akron and Roy A. Church, President of Lorain County Community College, write: In these challenging economic times, colleges and universities must work together to attain academic and operational successes. The shared-services approach can help higher education institutions cut costs and better serve their students, faculty, staff, and communities. It is a model that can allow institutions to stay focused on the core 16

17 missions of teaching, learning, and research. Partnerships and collaboration are the keys to the future of higher education in Ohio and in the world. As administrators scour the campus to find new ways to better serve students and at the same time reduce costs, many are taking a second look at how they could implement shared-services and or ways to outsource some of the services provided by their career centers. While private colleges have to balance their budgets and get approval for expenditures from their boards, and for-profit colleges ultimately get approval from their shareholders, the future of state colleges will be determined by the government entities providing them everdiminishing funding. The Ohio legislature established an advisory committee originally set up by now retired Board of Regents Chancellor, Jim Petro. The Efficiency Advisory Committee is comprised of 40 people representing each state institution of higher education. It meets quarterly to discuss ways to generate optimal efficiency plans for campuses, while at the same time identifying sharedservice opportunities and best practices. The newly formed committee (--it s first meeting was in September 2012), is challenged to look at ways to not only reduce the costs of education for students and their families by reducing overhead, but to also to improve the quality of services. Forward thinking colleges are also exploring this opportunity on their own campuses. Jim Sage, CIO of The University of Akron, is frequently called on by his president to find ways to cut costs. Jim has pioneered a number of shared-services projects. According to Jim, "Colleges and universities like ours are evaluating what our core competencies are and beginning to realize that with limited resources, increased competition, and increased expectations of our constituents and customers, we need to adopt strategies that increase customer satisfaction while at the same time reducing costs. Shared-services and outsourcing in your career service department have enormous upsides for everyone involved. By ramping up services and offering them anytime, anywhere and through any device, your career counselors will be able to spend more time coaching and working oneon-one with students as the shared services entities take over repetitive tasks and introduce scalable technologies that provide anytime, anywhere career curriculum. The shared-services concept is being accepted around the globe. HE-Shared Services Ltd (HE-SS) was formed in 2008 to help the 166 colleges and universities in the United Kingdom find ways in which they could identify significant efficiencies and help large IT vendors understand more about how the Higher Education sector is structured and works. 17

18 Let s look at how a potential outsourced relationship. What an outsourced relationship might look like: An outsourced relationship with career services at your organization might look more like the relationships colleges have with firms that provide support to students with computer problems. Personnel from these firms field incoming calls from students- - in many cases, around the clock. Services are branded to the college and students assume that college staff members are helping them. In this outsourced relationship, the college does not have any overhead; does not have to hire, train or fire staff; and does not have to invest in equipment or maintain a system. They just write a monthly check. A career-services model could go a couple of different ways: The most logical and fastest way to implement such a model would be a blended approach where your college maintains and staffs the career center while outsourcing scalable career services via the cloud to reach more students at a lower cost. Another model would be similar to the one adopted by the campus book store. In this model, your career center would be completely managed by a firm that is solely focused on the delivery of career curriculum, events and programming. The firm would use its expertise, analytics and economies of scale to deliver advanced career services via any device, at any time, and provide members of management the analytics they need to tweak campus curriculums and provide governing bodies. Regardless of which path your college chooses, some of the services that could be coordinated through an outsourced or shared-services partnership include those in the clouds : 1. Career management dashboards for students, grads and alumni. 2. Career courses in networking, interviewing, job search skills, resumes, social media savvy. 3. Career online communities/clubs that supports career focus. 4. Career webinars featuring the nation s top career and soft skills authors. 5. Career news, as well as advanced career planning and job search tools. 18

19 6. Career videos, blogs, e-newsletters, e-books, and related content delivered through social media channels and opt-in mailings. 7. Vetted career content and information. 8. Career discussions, questions and chats. 9. Google Hangouts with career coaching and advice sessions. 10. Counselor dashboards to monitor student progress, communicate and assign career content assignments, and assess job search readiness. 11. Analytics to evaluate program effectiveness and to set the stage for continual improvement. 12. Integration of social media tools to promotes and increase use. 13. Badges to reward students for completing activities. 14. Career buddy systems with career support systems. 15. Integration with LinkedIn to access employer and alumni information. 16. Mentoring matching systems. 17. Parents online communities to encourage students to take ownership of their careers. 18. Alumni career portals and career services to help alumni lead successful careers. 19. Crowd Source career advice. 20. Job placement help. It s literally impossible for the limited number of career service staff to manage all the tasks required for a college to successfully deliver career services. By outsourcing services like those included in this list, colleges and universities could also provide additional services that your current staff does not have the expertise, interest in, or bandwidth to accomplish like: Actually helping place students in jobs. Reaching out to businesses and organizations to build relationships to increase internships and hiring. Providing support in niche areas like ex-military, international students, and first generation students. 19

20 Additionally, an outsourced approach could offer students and grads extended hours so that they could take advantage of: Evening, weekend, holiday and summer help. Post-graduation help. An outsource partner should be able to deliver services that are branded to the institution. All resources, allowing all courses and materials to have the college logo and brand. The outsource partner could also provide advanced services that are not part of the career centers core competencies. Any organization that wants to reach students today must have an extensive knowledge and expertise in utilizing social media. Organizations need to know how to use Facebook and social plug-ins to leverage the authentic voices of peers and increase awareness and desire to build career plans. They will need to implement online reward systems like Badges to recognize students who are participating in and using the resources available to them. Outsource partners can provide marketing expertise that few college career professionals have time to acquire, and to increase the buzz, excitement and student commitment when it comes to building career strategies. Time must be dedicated to building sustainable marketing and promotion strategies that utilize student ambassadors, successful alumni and even celebrities who are all promoting students need to take ownership of their career strategies. The career services industry is never going to deliver the level of service expected of them by their constituents without a massive investment of staffing and money. Outsourcing is the only way to economically match consumer demand. While there are many benefits to focusing on careers-- from more students getting internships, completing college, engaging with alumni, and of course getting jobs after college-- there are a number of organizational benefits derived from focusing on careers. Let s look at four of them: 1. Career Centers can focus on their core competencies. 2. Career centers with outsourced relationships will be more efficient. 3. Career centers can focus on building a culture on campus that is focused on careers. 4. Outsourcing career centers will generate revenue. 20

21 1) Career Centers can focus on their core competencies: We shared earlier a survey that suggested over 61% of graduating seniors either never went to the career center, or visited just once or twice. Yet, a research report by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, titled Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession showed that 58% of recent grads didn t think their career centers did enough to prepare them for their first professional job searches. Good grief! How can your career center get blamed when, in fact, grads didn t step in the door looking for help? There is simply no question that career center staffing levels result in limited student use. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average ratio of students to full-time professional career staff was calculated to be 2,890 students per FTE staff member, and the average ratio of students per career counselor is 9,377 students per counselor. As a result, career counseling in the vast majority of colleges is, at best, a one session visit during a student s college experience. While this might appear to be just a frugal staffing strategy, not preparing students to handle their first professional job searches hurts the image of your college. Students who interview poorly will cast dark shadows on future candidates from the same college. In order to better serve ALL students, colleges and universities will need to invest heavily in additional staff, technology and resources. In fact, to reduce the student-to-counselor ratio, smaller colleges will need to add 3-5 counselors and larger colleges will need to add With more staff career centers could provide more one-on-one coaching about: Resume development Interviewing skills Interpreting assessment tests Career exploration In addition, they could focus on: 21

22 Increasing participation in career fairs Networking for students with alumni Business outreach and working with department managers and leadership to develop a culture on campus that focuses on careers. We believe this is one of the most important tasks career center professionals have. In the end, your career services professionals will feel less stress, and more importantly, they will see the positive effects of their coaching and advice because they will be more focused on the needs of individual students. 2. Career centers can focus on building a culture on campus that is focused on careers: A key component in long term strategy to help more students get internships and grads get jobs by graduation day is the need to change the culture on campus to focus on careers. Conversations and research are suggesting that simply adding additional services will not move the needle as far as is needed. Because career centers are like clubs on campus that have no authority to require students to participate, career centers will need to do the following: 1. Require students to take career assessments the summers prior to their freshman experiences and participate in events to gain an understanding of them. 2. Engage parents and enlist their help in requiring students to take ownership of their careers. 3. Offer four-year career plans and methodologies for students to follow. 4. Take more active roles in connecting students immediately when they reach campus to network with alumni. 5. Track students progress. 6. Put the career center in the clouds where students can access it anytime, anyplace. We have spent a lot of time discussing how the employment market has changed, but have not looked at how much the behaviors of consumers have changed. 22

23 This change was brought on by the introduction of an always-on Internet, and later by the introduction of smart phones. Today, consumers barely see the world in front of them as they tap away at their smart phones-- communicating with friends, watching videos, researching consumer goods and even taking courses. One of the greatest opportunities in changing the culture on campus and becoming more career centric is placing it in the clouds where students, grads and alumni can access 24/7/365! For more information on creating a career centered college campus, pick up the book Change It! Create a Career Centered College Culture. 3) Career centers with outsourced relationships will be more efficient: By not having to provide all of the services required to prepare students for their first professional job searches, your career center can remain nimble, reach more students, and --at the same time-- provide more relevant services to a greater number of students. We ve suggested colleges adopt online courses concerning issues related to the job search process so counselors don t have to teach 300 students the same thing at different times, but can concentrate on coaching each based on his or her own needs. For example: 9 out of 10 career counselors will share stories when asked about how students will walk through their doors only weeks before graduation, totally unprepared, and expecting those career counselors to draft killer resumes to put them on their roads to success. You know, as I do, that this just can t be done in 60 minutes. What we recommend is that students take an online resume course that would require them to complete worksheets they can share with their counselors. Then-- and only then-- would the students be able to visit with the career counselors. This encourages students to take ownership of their careers and gives the career counselor the ability to focus on coaching, rather than teaching resume building skills from scratch. Research by Stanford Education Professor Dr. Eric P. Bettinger has shown students who were coached by phone, , and text messages were 15 percent more likely to stay in school. You do the math. Not only do the colleges who practice these methods better prepare students for a lifetime of looking for jobs, but they increase their retention rates along the way. Outsourcing will also enable career centers to serve a diverse population base that includes exmilitary, international students, first generation students, minority students, and even 23

24 physically challenged students. An outsource partner could maintain an on-staff specialist in each of these areas to deliver career content and advice via phone, , chat or Skype. Career coaches could focus more on monitoring students activities, prodding them when they are falling behind, and recognizing them when they complete assigned career tasks. Technology can help by providing reports that show which students are falling behind. None of this would be possible in a scalable manner if these professionals also carried all the responsibilities of running a career center. 4) Outsourcing career centers will generate revenue: Colleges and universities are at a turning point. They can continue to do what they have done for the past ½ century and offer the same services which predictably will produce the same results, or even worse results. While colleges and universities could invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their career centers, at a time when budgets are tight, it makes more sense to make the career center a revenue center and charge parents and students for the services rendered there. They would gladly pay! You ve heard the old adage that you get what you pay for. Parents and students who are paying for a career services program will be more likely to focus on those programs and help make them successful. As we discussed in the beginning of this report, the number one reason students are going to college is to get jobs and launch more successful careers. The current model is failing many students, and many of them would be better served with the encouragement to participate. As the parent of an Ohio State nursing student, I willingly pay numerous additional fees on top of tuition. I, like other parents, pay for lab fees, transportation fees, entertainment fees, and fees for books. So why wouldn t I pay a fee for career services? If you structure it correctly, your college could include a step-by-step four year curriculum, complete with easy to digest courses, webinars and career content to serve your student body. It should provide analytics and reports to track participation and it should give the students the ability to involve their parents in their career development plan. Forward thinking colleges will see outsourcing as an opportunity to rapidly move career services, career ownership, and management to another level. For colleges that move in this direction there are two business models to choose from: 24

25 A tiered-pricing career services model A required four-year career curriculum Tiered career services model The level and quality of service that career centers provide today creates a baseline from which outsourcing will enable career centers to offer good, better, and best career services. Your career center has the infrastructure and systems in place to provide basic career services to everyone, but outsourcing will give you the ability to offer a range of extended products and services that can be delivered anytime, anyplace, and through any device. The tiered career service model would give students and parents options based on their goals and budgets. Look back to 20 services identified in the preceding section and visualize what a good, better, and best service might look like. Your good service would be the free services and tools currently available to all students just as it is today. A better service might include access to Google Hangout discussions with career coaches, a career-online community providing access to the latest career advice and career webinars. A best service might include all of the basic and better services as well as extended services including job placement, a career buddy system, and a dedicated alumni mentoring program. In this model, parents and students can pay for the level of career services they want. Will parents and students pay for good, better or best career services? There is plenty of evidence they will. To get into college, parents and students invest not only a great deal of time and money in evaluating colleges, visiting colleges, applying to colleges and taking SAT and ACT tests, but they also pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for extended coaching and courses to increase their scores. So why not invest in a structured e-learning career courses, webinars, videos, coaching and advising on demand from any device, at any time? Required four year career curriculum Another business model would be to require students to follow a specific four-year career exploration, career planning, and management curriculum and process. In a program like this, 25

26 students would be required to complete specific tasks each year and check in with career counselors for coaching and advice. Online technology, courses, and curriculum are now available to track their progress, provide reports on who is lagging, and give counselors an effortless way to keep students moving forward. To encourage use, social media integration and badges provide the ability for students to feel rewarded for accomplishments and get attaboys from their network of friends. This program would simply have a quarterly fee associated with it. Colleges are already implementing career fees. For example, the Chancellor of the California State University authorized a number of CSU colleges to charge a Student Success Fee when such a program was fully implemented of $ per quarter. 26

27 Summary Should your college outsource some of the services you offer students? My first reaction is to say, YES! For far too long, colleges and universities have underfunded their career centers. As a result, they are not only falling way behind the expectations of their customer bases, but in many cases, are falling behind in providing relevant services in these uncertain times. There is much to do, and little time to catch up. A delay in implementing strategies condemns another class year of students to a lifetime of struggling to find relevant employment. Outsourcing is already common on campus, it s even been done by the military. Why should you consider focusing on careers and giving your career center the resources to accomplish that? Richard Bolles, author of the book, What Color Is Your Parachute, said it years ago, Working alumni are giving alumni! Besides building a successful contributor base, outsourcing non-core competency services will: Give your career professionals more time for one-on-one coaching sessions with students. Provide the time for career professionals to build relationships with faculty and departments that can have ties to businesses that hire interns and grads. Provide career centers with state-of-the-art, scalable technologies that will help them reach more students, anytime, anyplace, and through any device. Provide more services, and collect more data and analytics at reduced costs. Provide new revenue streams that can be applied to scholarships or general operating funds. 27

28 Colleges will also see an increase in retention as students who are focused on their careers stay focused on their career plans and students will graduate on time! This is a big task, and one that involves a lot of moving parts and people, but everyone wins when the college outsources services that are not part of the career centers core competencies. Parents are given an opportunity to take on the role of career encourager and -- through technology-- will be able to see the progress of their students. Students expand their professional networks with alumni and pick up the skills they need to get internships and jobs. Companies get better prepared students at lower costs. Colleges graduate more students with jobs, which will increase enrollment. I know you will find it worth the time and effort to redirect the time and effort of your own staff to move in this direction. 28

29 Next steps! Here are a couple of things you can do to see if this strategy makes sense for your college: 1. Identify the type of services, and tools and coaching you think will be necessary to stay competitive (if not a leader), to help more grads get jobs by graduation day. 2. Determine which strategies could be implemented faster, and at a lower annual cost by adopting a shared-services model. 3. Develop a business and implementation plan and present it to members of your management team. 4. Build consensus among your college leadership of the all departments on your campus. Now that you have a plan, you will be able to make a greater impact on a greater number of students sooner than later! 29

30 About Don Philabaum is the President/CEO of TalentMarks, a worldwide provider of in the cloud career curriculum and e-learning platforms designed to help more students get internships, grads get jobs, and alumni lead successful lives. Don is also the author of x 203 Don Philabaum 30

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