New and enhanced internship and job placement services at Walla Walla University will facilitate relationships with alumni and employers to provide increased opportunities for students and recent graduates. “We currently have really good alumni relationships and information about employers, but we would like to formalize those relationships specifically for this purpose,” says David Lindstrom, director of the Student Development Center. This enhanced employer-relations program will provide more opportunities for alumni to be involved with students and recent graduates for career-preparedness coaching or to facilitate hiring or setting up internships.
A comprehensive study conducted in 2006 was the catalyst for these enhanced services, which include a new employer relations coordinator. The study was conducted by business student Paul Trapani ’17 and funded by alumni Paul Rhynard ’04 and Deanne Rhynard ’04. During a summer internship working for the Rhynards, Trapani executed the study, which include a survey of alumni, interviews with alumni and potential employers, benchmarking of other private universities and Adventist universities, analytics on job placement rates, and more, and which concluded with a recommended strategic action for the School of Business.
‘Can my student get a job?’
Tracking job placement statistics will be an additional focus for the Student Development Center. “Parents know we provide excellent Christian higher education, but they also want to know ‘Can my student get a job after they graduate, and can they pay off their student loans?’” says Lindstrom. “We want to be able to provide meaningful data for parents and other stakeholders about the return on their investment at WWU.”
Lindstrom says the right internship can be a significant factor in finding employment. “In the current employment market, vetting potential employees carefully before hiring is very important for employers, and internships can be a big part of that vetting process,” he says.
The Student Development Center is a union of career services, internship services, disability support services, and peer tutoring. “We help prepare students for personal and professional development,” says Lindstrom. “I want them to have all the tools necessary to achieve their goals. While we can’t make guarantees of employment, we can help students feel confident that they have what they need to find meaningful employment and continue to develop their career path.”
Sign up to help launch a career by adding a job posting or internship at wallawalla.edu/employer-relations.