Black Professionals Leveraging Corporate Knowledge
for Today’s College Graduates
Dr. Daryl Green
Are you prepared for tomorrow’s future challenges? Do you know how to take advantage of future job opportunities? As the financial crisis continues and the US labor market continues to weaken, many college students are wondering how they will survive these difficult times. With the fierce competition for limited jobs, they wonder if they will be able to land a good job in the marketplace.
I understand and see it. Hope isn’t lost. As a professor, I frequently find myself encouraging students to keep hope and plan for their career aspirations. The mistake is that many in my generation believed that a company was looking out for their career development. They were not! Black professionals can share their experiences with young college students. In fact, today’s job market requires that college students develop their own personal strategy for employment. This article explores how black professionals can assist college graduates with job strategies.
The Economic Picture
Economic troubles in our nation and abroad continue to create an unstable and unpredictable job market. Parents across this country tell their children “get a good education and you will get a good job.” However, in this economic rollercoaster, this is not always true. US manufacturing jobs continue to evaporate as global outsourcing becomes the norm for businesses that seek to increase their profits.
According to the Forrester Research, approximately 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $136 billion in wages could be moved overseas to countries like India or China by 2015. The industries potentially impacted include electronics, computer programming, telecommunications, banking, engineering, management consulting, and other highly skilled services. Therefore, many students are concerned about their future employment.
The University-Corporate Connections
Some universities understand how to connect with corporations in order to make their students more competitive. The economic picture has caused many organizations to reduce their presences on universities across the nation. To a shrewd executive, it probably doesn’t make sense to hire young graduates when the economic picture for the company may be uncertainty. According to some business estimates, employers are expected to cut 2.7 million jobs in 2009 (2 million were cut in 2008).
Additionally, every state is predicted to end the year with fewer jobs. Only 2 industry sectors expect to add more jobs, education and health & government. However, some companies feel their support to academic institutions make business sense since it demonstrates the organizations’ social responsibility to their communities. Furthermore, some universities have been too busy attempting to shore up their economic woes to pay attention to other organizations. Yet, there are some bright signs. Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), one of the 16 constituents of the University of North Carolina , continues to make a high commitment to furthering alliances with the public and private institutions.
BEEP has a historical record of over 40 years working in partnership with corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and other institutions where black executives serve as “Visiting Professors” at primarily black colleges. The university is an active member of the National Urban League’s Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP). In March, WSSU invited several organizations to campus, including the Central Intelligence Agency, UPS, Department of Energy, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
LaMonica Singleton, WSSU Director of Career Services, understands the importance of students making a connection with corporate America : “Students can relate to individuals who have been where they are. Students can listen and relate to the professionals.” She further notes that students see positive role models and can see themselves personally in a different setting. Kevin Bryant, a WSSU junior from Goldsboro , North Carolina , sees the value in having professions coming to campus: “I think it’s important for students to broaden their horizons. Having this exposure is important.”
Bryant further adds that these professionals gave him a dose of reality in the fact of how the corporate world operates. However, the trends make it difficult for even college students to be optimistic. However, having a good plan can increase the odds for most students in landing a good job. Students should bee aware of opportunities and be prepared to act quickly on them. Derrick Craver, Vice President – South Zone Strategic Accounts for UPS, explains, “An education is the foundation [for opportunities].”
Bill Washington, Vice President, Strategic Account Sales for UPS, argues that having a plan is critical for taking advantage of opportunities: “In any area of life, it’s important to have a roadmap.” He encourages developing a 1 to 3 year plan to reach goals. Therefore, college students need to be proactive about landing a job.
The Path Forward
Although many students are feeling very pessimistic about future career opportunities, hope is not lost if people are prepared for the future. Black professionals can make a difference by sharing their knowledge. Wise students will listen. Throughout their schooling, most young people are shielded from the unpleasant realities of life. Today, students are bombarded with many obstacles. However, they can make a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs. Now is the perfect time to begin.
About the Columnist:
Dr. Daryl Green provides motivation, guidance, and training for leaders at critical ages and stages of their development. He has over 20 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, Black Pearls Magazine Online and Associated Press. For more information, you can go to http://stores.lulu.com/darygre or http://www.darylgreen.org/.
Dr. Daryl Green author, lecturer, and leadership coach
Website: http://www.darylgreen.org/; Blog: http://nuleadership.wordpress.com/
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