The job market is leaning in the workers’ direction, but for students wanting to get a job or work experience during or after college, it can be overwhelming.
At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the newly opened Lubar Career Center aims to be a space where business students can find their next spot after their college careers.
“If you don’t have first-class career connections, if you don’t have formalized programs preparing students for careers with an eye toward that, it’s like the greatest company in the world putting its product into a warehouse and really never caring about getting it into distribution channels,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center earlier this month.
The university is not disclosing how much money was donated to build the center, but officials did confirm the center was 100% funded by private donations.
The remodeled career center includes eight interview suites with virtual interview capabilities, Dream Exchange Conference Room, and staff offices for one-on-one career advising for Lubar School of Business students.
Mone said the Lubar school is one of the “critical pillars for economic development and for meeting the needs of the state.”
“This is part of our larger campus initiatives to have every student have real-world experience,” Mone said. “To have internships, to have different types of coordinated work that they’re doing very much preparing them” for the future.
Kaushal Chari, dean of the business school, said this is where the “seeds of success are planted.”
“At the Lubar school we are committed to supporting the success of our students both inside and outside of the classroom through mentorship by faculty and alumni of a large and diverse student body,” Chari said. “Many of whom are first-generation college students.”
Joan Nesbitt, UWM vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, said the career center donors are catalysts to the success students will have.
“This center was funded entirely by generous donors who understand how important it is to not only educate our students but help them cross the bridge that spans the worlds of college and career,” Nesbitt said.
“Their gifts made it possible for us to have beautiful furnishings and up-to-date technology. But they didn’t do it for the space, they did it to give students an entrée into the business world.”
One of those donors was Joe Cecala, founder of Dream Exchange, a company focused on growing small business capital and diversity through public investing.
“We are deeply involved in seeing that the investment and the useful tools that are developed at the university level can then be transported into the corporate world,” Cecala said. “That people get meaningful, gainful employment and expand these small companies … and that’s where our society survives.”
Cecala said he wanted Dream Exchange to be part of the solution students will come up with as they enter or start a business.
“Without each other in that small business setting, I think we’re in great peril,” Cecala said.
“But I think the university is doing something about that. We want to contribute to that effort and we really wanted to be in the career center because we’re a brand-new company and we’re going to be hiring people.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Career center at UWM Lubar Business School to plant ‘seeds of success’