Higher Ed

NJCU Strengthens Career Access for First Generation College Students

National Online Job Placement and Networking Platform to Enhance NJCU’s Commitment to Career Information, Social Capital and Job Placement Services

New Jersey City University (NJCU) has partnered with CareerSpring — a national online job placement and networking platform for first-generation college students — to enhance its career access support for first generation college students, which make up 54% of the institution’s undergraduate population. NJCU is the first educational institution in New Jersey to join the national non-profit’s Network of Education Partners.

According to NJCU, employers are looking for smart, driven, and diverse talent. First generation college students are looking for high-quality employment. All too often, the two never meet. This unrealized opportunity is both frustrating and unsustainable. It compromises the economic and social leverage our communities have to gain from the upward mobility of hard-working and purpose-driven individuals and undermines the dignity of first-generation college graduates who deserve the opportunity for meaningful work that maximizes their potential.

“It is important that we guide our first-gen students throughout their undergraduate career,” explains Christina Rolon, director of NJCU’s TRiO Learning Community Program. “They are striving for success, but may be unaware of how to reach their academic and professional goals. By providing them with direction and resources, they gain the self-confidence needed to persevere.”

The resources Rolon refers to have now become more robust through this partnership with CareerSpring. This online job search and networking platform will provide students free access to career information, hundreds of real-world professionals committed to networking and coaching, and job placement services that match high-quality employers with first generation talent.

“With first generation students making up a significant portion of our student population, we want to be very intentional about how we support them to navigate the college to career transition,” says Josh Iannuzzi, career services director of NJCU’s School of Business.

A growing number of studies show that those individuals who are the first in their family to attend college present unique challenges as they embark upon the job acquisition process.

“So many first-generation college students are doing everything right, as far as going to college and working their tails off to graduate. But they often get to the finish line and just don’t have the professional context or the network — what a lot of us refer to as ‘social capital’ — to land a job that maximizes their potential,” shares Paul Posoli, founder and president of CareerSpring.

Through NJCU and CareerSpring’s collaboration, thousands of the university’s first-generation college students can establish a free account on the non-profit’s Career Platform. That ‘Advisee’ account becomes students’ virtual gateway to access hundreds of informational career videos, a network with more than 750 diverse working professionals who have intentionally become ‘Advisors’ on the Platform to consult with first generation students, and search for and apply to high-quality internships and jobs. The more than 50 employers through which CareerSpring sources internships and jobs are also intentional. As committed Sponsors and Partners in the CareerSpring Network, they’re looking to recruit diverse, early talent that adds value to their organizations.

Through this partnership between NJCU and CareerSpring, they will team to help students win, help employers win, and establish NJCU as a model institution for not only serving and graduating first generation college students, but also supporting their long-term career.

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