Group's mission now is to push region's job opportunities to students

Posted: March 16, 2014

Campus Philly was created in 2000 amid hand-wringing over the Philadelphia region's bumper crop of college graduates leaving the area, diplomas packed in their suitcases.

Then, the organization's job was to sell the city to students in the hope that they would stay.

With the city's popularity growing among young people, that sale has been made, said Deborah Diamond, the organization's president.

Now, she said, the 392,491 students enrolled in 101 area colleges are asking, "How can I stay here? How can I get a job?"

What's missing, she said, is student knowledge about the region's companies and opportunities. Providing that knowledge, she said, is now the main mission for the organization.

And that's where, she said, Philadelphia's diverse economy poses a challenge. "We don't have a signature industry," she said.

So, instead of being able to educate students about opportunities in one or two sectors, like similar organizations in the Silicon Valley might be able to do, Campus Philly has to connect with a variety of businesses sectors, understand the jobs, and then figure out a way to convey the possibilities to the students.

In the field of career studies, academicians are researching how students choose careers.

College career offices have tended to concentrate on resumé writing and other mechanics of finding a job, said Michelle Van Noys, a researcher at the Rutgers University John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. But, she said, students need to learn more about career possibilities and pathways.

Over the last year or two, the job market for graduates has improved, said labor economist Paul Harrington at Drexel University's Center for Labor Markets and Policy. "But mal-employment is still alive," he said. Mal-employment occurs when college graduates are employed in jobs that don't require a college education.

Diamond said the employers she talks to are eager to employ the region's college graduates. Her goal, she said, is to persuade them to start younger, by enlarging their internship programs.

"Internships are a pathway to career possibilities," she said. And, they are "sticky." Students who land internships may end up working in those companies and remaining in Philadelphia.


jvonbergen@phillynews.com

215-854-2769 @JaneVonBergen

www.inquirer.com/jobbing

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|