Workshop to help prepare college students for real world

By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Not all college courses prepare students for life after graduation. That’s where the Community Education Center in St. Marys is hoping to help out, specifically with its new workshop focused on real world scenarios, job search preparation, and the impact of first impressions.
On July 23 and 30 the CEC is hosting “Preparing Your #Selfie for the Real World” with sessions focusing on digital responsibility, appropriate workplace attire, financing of student loans, building a professional network through LinkedIn, and professional dining etiquette.
“We want to reach out to college students and give them the skills that they might need along the way,” said Amy Goode, CEC program manager.
A panel of three to four local human resource personnel will host two of the sessions, including digital responsibility and professional attire sessions.
The panel will provide tips to students on how their digital footprint can affect employment, specifically addressing how Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos can make a first impression on employers and colleagues before physically meeting them.
Living in the digital age has proven that damaging social media content can cause lasting impressions that may never go away.
The panel will also discuss how to prepare for job interviews and what not to wear to interviews.
Marian Hargrave, a representative from PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) will be on hand to help students understand their financial aid package, college loans and repayment plans.
“It’s always about finances when it comes to college,” Goode said. “We wanted to bring in some sort of portion of this and focus on the realities that you are going to face after college.”
One example Goode cited was that students could have a lower loan payment, but this may take them longer to pay off the loan.
Rita Buchheit, curriculum specialist for Intermediate Unit 8, will host the session about helping students build their professional network through LinkedIn. Topics include tips to polish a resume, understanding the art of volunteerism, and creating a profile.
A session on professional dining etiquette is being hosted by Marissa Merritt, a CEC intern.
“I am a true believer of life-long learning, so anytime you get an opportunity to expand your knowledge on topics that relate to your life, you should take advantage of it,” Goode said. “This is a free workshop at no cost to the participants, plus lunch, or dinner, is included so what do you have to lose.”
The two workshop sessions are scheduled to accommodate students' varying work schedules. Each session will cover the same topics. The July 23 workshop is form 12-4 p.m. with lunch included, while the July 30 workshop is from 5-9 p.m. with dinner included.
The workshop is free and open to students from incoming college freshmen to recent college grads living in Cameron and Elk counties.
Each session can accommodate 25 people and each participant will be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card from Sheetz.
To register for the workshop contacted the CEC at 814-781-3437 or emailing cec@communityedcenter.com.
The program is funded by the CEC’s DISCOVER Partnership and The Stackpole Hall Foundation. The DISCOVER Partnership is a business and education partnership aimed at helping students “discover” what the region has to offer by forming connections between students, local companies and communities.
“The CEC would like to continue offering some sort of college workshop each summer when the students are back home in an effort to address the challenges faced by college students,” Goode said. “Summer is a good time to address some of these areas that they might not have time for during the school year.”
If a school or company is interested in participating in a similar event, please contact Amy Goode at the CEC at 781-3437 or cec@communityedcenter.com.

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