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Career Centers - Underfunded, Underused and Un – effective?

In just a few short months - college campuses around the world will be hosting elaborate graduation ceremonies to bear witness to the success of students who are graduating.   While the day is filled with joy, pride and accomplishment, the minute hundreds of graduation caps hit the ground, reality starts to sink in.

Of this year’s graduating class:

  • Like the last three, only 20% will leave campus knowing they have a job
  • 80% percent will be moving back home
  • Will have an average tuition debt exceeding $20,000 and credit card debt in excess of $4,000

These stats are not meant to rain on anyone’s parade, but the realities facing college graduates are daunting at best!  As a result, the vast majority will struggle in the first decade of their career.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

One of the ways colleges could help graduates overcome these issues is to provide  more help in career exploration, job search skills, and teach them how to build a network to help them execute their job search. 

That’s hard to do with the resources they have.

  • According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, the median budget for a career center is less than $34,000 per year

Career Centers do the best they can with the limited resources provided.  According to Don Philabaum, CEO of TalentMarks,

“Take a typical small college with 400 graduates, that has one full time career professional and a couple part time students who help with resumes.   If the primary career professional provided two hours of career coaching to each graduate, they would use up 800 of the 1440 work hours available that school year. (based on a 9 month college year)  However that just doesn’t happen.  The demands of managing an office, campus meetings, creating reports, issues, contacting businesses, managing career fairs, sick days, vacation days, holidays and much more leaves career professionals with little time to coach students."

Campus funding priorities

According to research by Noel-Levitz, an admissions consulting firm, it’s not unusual for a private college to spend $3,000 to recruit a student.  Yet research by NACE shows the average college with 400 students invests less than $85 to provide career training to graduating students.

That could explain why nationwide, only a small percentage of students who graduate have visited the Career Center.

If colleges are to provide the time and attention graduates will need to explore the right career for them, help them build a network with alumni, learn how to build their personal brand, search for and organize a job search, they will need more resources, more funds, more staff, and better curriculum.

Petition advocates change in funding

To encourage administrators to provide more resources to their Career Centers, TalentMarks encourages anyone with a son, daughter, friend, nephew, cousin, parent, neighbor or coworker in college to sign this petition:

To see additional stats and issues Career Centers face CLICK HERE

To sign the Petition CLICK HERE.


Additional Information

Don Philabaum
Don (at) talentmarks.com






“All we can do right now is give them hope, give them job leads and provide them advice on their resumes”

Career Center Advisor at a State College


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