One of the primary reasons college students pursue a degree is to eventually obtain a credential that leads to a successful career or an opportunity to continue their education. Through a variety of activities and programs at Piedmont Community College (PCC), the faculty and staff have collaborated to increase career development opportunities for students.
On Thursday, April 20, PCC’s Department of Student Development hosted its annual Career Fair on the Person County Campus. With more than 25 companies represented such as Boise Cascade, The Department of Public Service-Prison Division, HR Block, Granville Health Systems, and U.S. Postal Service. Students had the opportunity to engage with employers to learn more about their companies and potential career opportunities.
More than 60 students attended this event coordinated by Patricia Hatchett, Director for Admissions, Retention and Student Success and her staff. “The fair is important because the companies can interact with students and the students have the opportunity to learn more about employment needs,” comment Hatchett.
Through a grant provided by the PCC Foundation, PCC’s Department of Student Development has also been able to offer the “PCC Career Exploration Network”. One of the primary goals of the network is to increase relationships between local business owners and students to aid in their professional development.
While the program creates a platform for PCC students to consider careers throughout the region and state, a core focus is to encourage students to “live where they work.” To date, students have participated in workshops focused on developing resumes, practicing interviewing skills, creating LinkedIn© profiles, completing StrengthsFinder© assessments, and navigating through on-line career development modules offered through the Workforce Training Center. Kelly Horne, an IT Business Support student, noted that, “It’s really important for the college to help students find jobs in the fields that they studied”.
The program’s campus coordinators, Jacqueline Billeci (Caswell) and Christina Perry (Person), also shared their insights about the benefits of this endeavor. “We emphasize that career development is a multi-step process in which you leverage your strengths while exploring interests, utilizing a variety of resources, and continuously fine-tuning your approach,” explains Perry, Counselor/Advisor at PCC. “Our program supports students in all stages of their search, from identifying and preparing for employment opportunities to accepting offers.
Billeci, Director of Operations on the Caswell County campus, stated, “Our students are fully aware that in order to achieve their educational and career goals, they must begin developing a network in advance to graduation. The PCC Career Exploration Network provides them with the tools and space to do so”.
On Tuesday, April 25, Jody Blackwell, PCC’s Director of the Small Business Center and Customized Training Programs, joined the group for a dinner at Homestead Steakhouse to discuss business etiquette, networking strategies, and regional employment trends and expectations.
The Career Fair and Career Exploration Network are complemented by the College’s free Career Coach integrative software platform that affords students with the opportunity to search and secure competitive jobs in the local regions and state. To learn more about these efforts and PCC’s goals to enhance career development, please contact the Department of Student Development at (336) 322-2163.
Photo: Career Exploration Network participants and leaders
Front row, left to right: Cedric Brandon, Christian Kimball, Dr. Joelle Davis Carter, Jacqueline Billeci
Back Row, left to right: Kenneth Montgomery, James White, Dawn Wallace-Clayton, Darius Edmonds, Christina Perry