Caitlin Varley

Many Miami University seniors are starting to worry about finding employment after graduation, but Miami plans to leverage alumni connections to aid students’ job searches.

According to Barbara Jones, vice president for student affairs, the idea to leverage alumni and parents’ connections to increase student internships and job opportunities came from Mark Shanley, interim assistant vice president for student affairs, and Richard Hearin, director of career services.

“We’ve had a pretty close relationship with our counterparts in alumni relations for going on 30 years or so, so it was kind of a no-brainer,” Hearin said.

According to Hearin, there is a group of representatives from various offices on campus who are trying to find ways to optimize the number of employment opportunities available for graduating seniors.

“(Leveraging alumni connections is) kind of the key way that we feel we can be of assistance to students who will be seeking internships and full-time opportunities throughout the spring semester,” Hearin said.

Jones said this is different than what Miami normally does since it is much more targeted at a specific group of people.

“One of the things that we’re looking at is certainly to increase things around this area, but we’re also looking at increasing job opportunities on each coast as well,” Jones said.

Hearin said that this program is different, however, because it has moved closer to the top of the “to do list.”

“It’s not different per se in terms of process, but what’s different is the urgency that we’re all putting behind it,” Hearin said.

Hearin said a lot of details are still being worked out, but they do have a number of ideas on how to leverage alumni connections.

The group would like to publish something in the office of alumni relations’ monthly electronic newsletter to get the word out, according to Hearin.

Hearin said they also want to use their database of alumni who have used the office of career services to recruit students.

“While they’re kind of already in the fold, they might know of other opportunities within their organizations or within other organizations that they can report back to us,” Hearin said.

Miami’s fundraising officials will also be used. Hearin said that when the officials meet with possible donors, they could also solicit job leads.

According to Hearin, they will also involve alumni who sit on divisional advisory boards to see if they can provide employment or internship opportunities from the organizations that they’re involved in or connected to.

Hearin said that some alumni would also have graduated during an economic downturn so they will be able to sympathize with challenges current students are facing.

“There’s tremendous loyalty among Miami alumni to the institution,” Hearin said. “We’re hoping that (it) will yield a very, very positive result.”

One success so far has been with the Nestle Corporation, according to Hearin and Jones.

“Nestle was just a very, very early success that we learned about probably less than a month ago that resulted from a contact from one of the fundraisers in the Farmer School (of Business),” Hearin said.

Hearin said Nestle is registered for the spring internship and career expo and has a recruiting visit set up for February.

“That’s kind of the best example we’ve got at this point,” Hearin said. “The other things will be rolling out over the course of the next month of two.”