Ideas were flowing during the annual NCCA Conference
Cleveland State University welcomed 75 individuals from career offices at every college and university across Northeast Ohio as part of the Northeast Consortium of Career Advancement (NCCA) conference on June 14 for a day of community, professional development and growth.
Alongside the CSU team (inclusive of Career Development & Exploration staff, Wolstein Center Staff, Catering, Parking and Dining Services) that helped with planning and logistics of the day, the planning committee also included Drew Poppleton of Case Western Reserve University and Lauren Conway of Cleveland Institute of Art.
The conference was fully funded through the remaining OMIC (Ohio Means Internships & Co-ops) grant funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Brittany Wampler, the Director of the Office of Career Development and Exploration at CSU, said the conference last occurred in 2019 before the COVID pandemic took over. Since that point, the world has changed dramatically. It was an excellent time to regroup and think about career services and how they serve students moving forward.
“I think how we look at how we prepare our students to enter the workforce is a lot different now, and their understanding of careers is different,” she said. “When they were learning during Covid, the lack of opportunities to connect what they were learning in the classroom to internship experiences was different, [but now] hopefully we are on the other side of that.”
In addition to two keynote speakers – George Sample, who is the vice president for strategy at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and Dr. Cheri Rice, who serves as Vice Chancellor for Workforce Alignment at the Ohio Department of Higher Education – attendees participated in breakout sessions with topics ranging from ChatGPT, career narratives, understanding Neurodiversity, and communicating professional skillset through a digital lens.
“At CSU, we take a lot of pride in how we seek to eliminate the barriers our students face relative to entering their career,” said Wampler (left). “So how do we provide equitable resources, support, and opportunities to get students from when they enter CSU until graduation and then hopefully crossing the stage at graduation with a job in hand, ready to capitalize and have that return on investment for their degree?”
According to Wampler, some ideas included discussing today’s artificial intelligence shifting the workforce and creating opportunities within education, how to promote and embrace digital transformation, along with educating students on jobs that don’t quite exist…yet.
“How do we better partner with the community and employers while recognizing the resources that are out there and bringing those into colleges and campuses? We are an outcomes-based office, so how do we track our outcomes [and] make sure that we are telling a story with our data that aligns with an institution’s mission?”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the day was the community-building amongst each college and university represented, whose offices range from a team of one (Lake Erie College) to upwards of 25, depending on the university size. CSU has a group of 12, which Wampler is extremely grateful for.
“[The main thing is], how do we come together and build a community around some of the same issues that we face with our same student populations and build that community around the room,” she said.
“I’m an idea person, so I hope we can inspire people to think about their own work in a way that inspires them to take some level of action; If people leave here today feeling like they have made connections and have an idea about what they can implement immediately into their own work or strategic planning for the next school year, that is a huge win for this event.”
For more information on Career Development and Exploration at CSU, please visit https://clestatecareers.com.