Career services addresses workforce shortage

As employers begin to look at internships on college graduates’ resumes more than in past years, UND’s Career Services works to help students be prepared to get those jobs.

Career Services helps UND students in every aspect of the job hunt — whether they want a part-time job, an internship or co-op, help to write a resume or cover letter or help preparing for an internship.

“We’re really coaches,” Career Services Director Ilene Odegard said. “We’re not for a specific service. We assist in career development. What’s your second or third job going to be like? That’s the journey.”

The office works with about 150 businesses currently to help students get the opportunities they will need for their future. Odegard said about 95 percent of the employers are UND graduates who are eager to hire more UND graduates. Career Services also works directly with departments across campus to get the word out to all students.

“We have five to six (job) postings a day that we need to post,” Odegard said. “We work with the faculty advisor or internship coordinator and share information with them. We feed the specific opportunities out to the departments so they get out to students who might be interested.”

Career Services is also getting the word out through its website. Career Connect is a portal on the website where students can fill out a profile and pick the jobs they are interested in. Employers will be able to see the students’ profile and contact them about job opportunities.

“We’re working really hard on making the portal more intuitive and not hard to navigate,” Odegard said. “When we do classroom presentations we walk students through creating a profile. We’re working on creating a link to every entity on campus that could have the link two clicks away or one click away. The technology has to be fast.”

Odegard also works on a sub-committee for the city of Grand Forks and is helping to get the word out about internships at the city level. The committee is comprised of employers all around Grand Forks.

“We are trying to address the needs of the workforce shortage,” Odegard said. “We had a survey of Grand Forks chamber members and they said there is great value in hiring interns. There are currently four or five or six new ones in the works.”

Internships in the college years allow students to experience the job they believe they want and what that job will entail.

“There is learning attached to the position,” Odegard said. “It feeds into the knowledge of the career you are in. Internships are not about copying paper or getting coffee. They have a purpose and are project-based where you can get questions answered.”

Odegard and the staff at Career Service put on several events throughout the year to get students interested.

“We want to get younger students thinking about internships,” Odegard said. “It’s not scary, and we will walk you through it.”

Megan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].