Through its Cultural Career Network (CCN), the Career Center provides students of diverse backgrounds with career resources and connections to organizations with diversity initiatives to help prepare them for the workplace.

This demonstration of the University’s value and commitment to diversity is reflected through CCN programs hosted this spring and employer partner contributions that support student success.

International Student Career Series
To assist international students in their career, the Career Center and the Office of International Studies are hosting the International Career Series. In January, students received first-hand tips on how to communicate with employers during a job search.

“Because cultural differences exist in the workplace, the Career Center wanted to connect our international students with employers who could provide them with successful job search tips specific to the United States,” said Maureen Roach, Career Center senior assistant director for programming and events. “We also saw a need to help students with F-1 visas to better understand CPT (Curricular Practical Training).”

On February 23, international students get Insider Tips on Cultural Differences and Succeeding in an Internship from a panel of fellow students and employers. Attendees explore best practices for how to be a successful intern in the American workplace.

Immigration specialist and attorney Thomas Arkell from the Dunn Law Firm in Bloomington presents to students on Life After OPT (Optional Practical Training) on March 30. Arkell’s information focuses specifically on H-1B visas and how to apply for employment authorization.

Student and Alumni Diversity Meet-up
Students of diverse backgrounds connect with diverse alumni who have been in their shoes at the Student and Alumni Diversity Meet-Up on March 2. This interactive session provides students an opportunity to get the inside scoop on how to effectively transition from college to career in a diverse workplace. Alumni from a variety of fields share how they got started in their careers, conducted their job search, and navigated the workplace. Students rotate among them to ask questions, learn from their experiences, and to establish a network of professionals to help them succeed.

Diversity Employer Expo
The Career Center removes the uncomfortable barriers of job searching and makes it easy for diverse students to meet employers at the Diversity Employer Expo on April 6. Students engage in casual conversation with employers over dinner where they learn about the diversity initiatives that exist within the organizations attending, discover industry options, and identify how to broaden their network. After meeting employers, learning about their companies, and sharing their career aspirations, students participate in a career expo where they can identify opportunities available at the companies in attendance.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds to meet employers in a very relaxed and supportive atmosphere,” said Career Center Director Pamela Cooper. “It is a time set-up for them to explore their interests, learn about companies that are interested in hiring them, and start building a network of professionals who can help them succeed.”

Negotiation Tips for Women
As the nation participates in Equal Pay Day recognizing the inequity of pay in many workplaces and industries based on gender differences, the Career Center hosts Negotiation Tips for Women on April 19.  Illinois State’s Director of the School of Social Work Dr. Diane Zosky delivers the keynote address, followed by a panel of employers from various industries who share about their personal career paths, tips on being confident in the job search process, and interviewing and negotiation.

“Even though more women are graduating from college and earning graduate degrees than ever before, millennial women are still lagging behind their male counterparts in terms of pay, confidence and leadership aspirations when transitioning into the workplace,” said Roach. “So the Career Center is hosting this event to support students from all genders to enhance their confidence, help them negotiate their salaries, advocate their ideas, and help them to secure professional champions and mentors.”

The Career Center, its employer partners, and university colleagues are pleased to host these events to help diverse students make the most of their academic experiences and achieve their career goals. According to Cooper, “as students take advantage of the career support offered at Illinois State, they continue to move in the right direction towards not only career success, but also towards greater inclusion and equity.”

Donor support

The Career Center is able to offer career resources and employer connections through the Cultural Career Network and its diversity initiatives thanks to Target Campus Grants and generous support from Enterprise Holdings. Because of these employer partners and their organizations’ commitment to diversity, the Career Center is able to deliver career support to students of diverse backgrounds to help them achieve career success.