The fundamental purpose of students attending trade schools, colleges, universities, and high schools is, of course, to learn, but for most, education is a means to a job or career. So, it makes sense for employers and local educators to establish strong partnerships. When businesses and local educators help students achieve their goals, everyone benefits.
One of the simplest ways for businesses and local educators to partner is by participating in job and career events. This is an opportunity for businesses to convey to students what they look for in employees just as much as it is about searching for prospective employees. “When selecting academic partners, we consider those schools with programs (majors) that align with our particular career opportunities. We then develop an outreach strategy that ensures our presence on campus, beyond the scheduled job fairs. Doing so is an important step,” says Yvonne DeSalle, VP of Associate Engagement & Talent Development at YGS, “as it allows us to build our employer brand, over time and across various platforms, with each of our academic partners. This also provides us with the opportunity to connect directly with our target audience.”
When attending job fairs, bring along a few exemplary employees who represent the kind of employee your company wants to hire, and encourage conversations with students about the hirable qualities you are seeking in potential employees that are unique to your business. “The individuals we select to staff these events are our subject matter experts. They understand who we are looking for, but they can also share the YGS story in an impressionable way,” says DeSalle, “They may be alumni, former interns, or even mentees of our various academic recruitment programs. Regardless of their various titles, they are high performers who are skilled at representing our employer brand and are qualified to answer questions about our company, culture, and the specific career opportunities and pathways here at YGS.”
Getting students to put classroom theory and education into action in ways that benefit local employers is important for local education as well. “By participating in conversations with business and campus leaders, we ensure curriculum aligns with business and industry trends, standards, and job needs,” says DeSalle. “In addition, our associates can pay it forward by participating in on-campus events and serving as mentors through our internship and apprenticeship programs.” Educators want their students to be able to find jobs, and if they’re crafting education with a mind for what local employers are looking for in future employees, they are accomplishing both goals.
Kali Eskew, marketing manager at YGS, attended York College of Pennsylvania, studying public relations and minoring in marketing and speech communications. She connected with YGS at a college-organized job fair. “Before the job fair at YCP, I was able to research YGS and view the details of a particular position that really appealed to me,” says Eskew. “I reached out to YGS prior to the job fair, which landed me a first round interview with HR at the job fair.” While performing on-site interviews is not standard practice for YGS, it was worth the effort, as YGS hired Eskew for the marketing coordinator position, and she started at YGS just one week after graduating from York College.
That kind of story is one that every business, local educator, and student hopes to find—where educators are able to help their students reach their career goals by creating opportunities for students to connect and network with local businesses, and businesses are able to present their unique needs to local educators and find hirable students and prospective employees before the completion of their formal education.