Hameetman Career Center debuts new space, plans

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The Hameetman Career Center (HCC), formerly the Career Development Center (CDC), opened on the ground floor of the Arthur G. Coons administration building last week. In addition to the new space, the department has plans to expand personnel to include an executive director and a new career counselor.

The HCC staff is hosting a casual opening party with food and refreshments Friday for students to meet and talk with the center’s personnel. The event is intended as a house-warming party, according to Career Center Coordinator and Marketing Manager Ananda Dillon.

Although the HCC is currently open, the center will not be complete until a donor wall, patio furniture and a new sign have been added.

The expanded HCC’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows afford the space a more open layout, according to Dillon.

“The spaciousness is one of the best aspects,” three-year CDC employee Haarika Reddy (junior) said.

In Dillon’s opinion, the best new feature is the attractive, sunny seminar room, which faces the expanded patio outside and will host many of the over 200 events the CDC hosts every year.

There is also a new interview suite where recruiters will hold on-campus interviews with students seeking jobs. During the 2014–15 school year, the CDC hosted 85 employer visits, according to Assistant Director for Employer Relations Courtney Stricklin.

In addition to the space, the HCC will also expand employer relations and increase outreach to students, assisted by the planned staff appointments.

Dillon’s goals involve welcoming students to the new space and encouraging them to see it as both a resource and a place to hang out. She would like students to see career development as a manageable endeavor and believes the brightness and openness of the renovated building makes it seem more friendly.

“Obviously, we love how visible we are,” Dillon said.

Constantly growing and increasing its presence at Occidental, the HCC helps increase the job placement of graduates each year, Stricklin said. She added that since it hired a dedicated staff member for employee relations three years ago, there has been a 142 percent increase in employer partners and a 20 percent increase in graduate employment through those partners.

According to two surveys conducted by the HCC staff, one on the class of 2010 and the other on the class of 2014, job placement rates for Occidental students in the year after graduation have improved 10 percent in that four year window, from 83 to 93 percent.

The HCC staff ultimately wants students to develop their professional skills so that they can navigate their job search independently by the time they graduate, according to Dillon.

“We’re not recruiters,” Dillon said. “It’s way more important to focus on self-development and learning to sell yourself.”