Made possible in part by a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the generosity of Roosevelt Board of Trustees members Steve Abbey and Robert Wieseneck, GPS encourages the development of skills needed for finding a job and excelling in the workplace and beyond — all while Roosevelt students are still in college.
“We know becoming a professional doesn’t happen overnight,” said Jennifer Wonderly, director of Career and Professional Development at Roosevelt University. “The GPS is a great way for a student to get started thinking about a career — even from the very beginning when he or she first arrives on campus.”
Offering myriad career preparation opportunities, the GPS began in fall 2016 and already has a growing number of student participants.
“The GPS is a great way for a student to get started thinking about a career — even from the very beginning when he or she first arrives on campus.”
– Jennifer Wonderly, Director of Career and Professional Development
In the program, students receive points for every approved career activity they attend. Students who earn at least eight points a year receive an official GPS Completion Designation for their college transcripts and resumes.
“So many of our students are the first in their families to go to college,” said Abbey, who is the GPS program’s founding donor. “Many need support in not only making it through college, but also in learning how to use their college degrees once they leave Roosevelt.
“I believe career readiness training may be a way of ensuring that students actually succeed after college, and I’m hoping the program will be a model with ingredients it takes to put new graduates on a path to career success,” he said.
“So many of our students are the first in their families to go to college. Many need support in not only making it through college, but also in learning how to use their college degrees once they leave Roosevelt.”
– Steve Abbey, Roosevelt Trustee, Founding GPS Donor
Recent GPS workshops and training sessions have included Career Boot Camp: Interviewing Tips; How to Prepare for the Career Fair; Spring 2017 Internship and Career Fair at Roosevelt’s Goodman Center; English Majors Career Panel; Build Your Own Professional LinkedIn Network; LinkedIn with Dee Reinhardt; Over 40 and Hired; Job Search Strategies; Resume Workshop; and How to Build a LinkedIn Profile.
While these sessions are geared primarily toward Roosevelt students, alumni are welcome and can also receive career counseling, assessments, resume critiquing, resume referral and access to Roosevelt’s job-bank database.
“We are getting, on average, between 15 and 20 people at these events,” said Wonderly, who is planning for even more GPS offerings in the fall. “We believe some of the student interest stems from a desire to earn points so students can obtain the GPS designation, which not only boosts one’s resume, but also may impress potential employers.”
The Office of Career and Professional Development also has begun requiring student resumes to be reviewed before they are available to potential employers, including more than 60 who took part in Roosevelt’s recent career fair at the Goodman Center.
Nineteen-year-old freshman Costen King is one of the Roosevelt students working toward his GPS designation. “I’ve taken workshops on doing job interviews and LinkedIn and I’ve gone to lectures by industry leaders in marketing,” said King, an undergraduate business major with a concentration in marketing and finance.
“A college degree alone doesn’t guarantee you a job,” said King, who hopes to move after graduating in 2019 to New York City where he wants to work for Condé Nast, doing branding for the company’s GQ Magazine. “I see the GPS as a supplement to my degree, and a way for me to actually have a leg up when I’m ready to get out there and apply for my dream job.”
Paralegal studies major Katherine Gage, 22, who graduated in May, also participated in the GPS. “The workshops and lectures I took taught me how to behave in an office environment and what to expect in the real world,” said Gage, who found an internship during summer 2016 as a paralegal.
Gage received coaching at Roosevelt in interviewing, one of the reasons she believes she landed the internship in the first place. That experience led to her being offered a part-time job during her final semester at Roosevelt.
“I’m planning on putting my GPS certification on my resume,” she said. “It will show prospective employers that I’ve been intentionally crafting myself to be a professional in the business world.”
Emily Komendera, one of three career counselors who work with students and alumni in Roosevelt’s Office of Career and Professional Development, said the sky is the limit for GPS participants.
“This is a program that gets students involved in career exploration before they actually get out on the job market,” Komendera said. “We’re helping our students to think about their options early and we’re giving them the tools and resources they need to be successful in the workplace.”