Program Equips Grads for the Workforce
Published October 23, 2018 in Summit Magazine
At Clarks Summit University, Graduates leave with more than just a degree.
After learning through intentional personal-growth and career-development opportunities, CSU graduates leave truly prepared for their career and equipped to live a Christ-centered life. A classroom education provides knowledge needed in a specific career track. Outside the classroom, students are immersed in additional hands-on career preparation, like the student employment program, which takes education a step farther by teaching the soft skills necessary to catch the eye of today’s employers.
More than one-third of on-campus students take part in the student employment program. This multilevel discipleship program provides mentorship, discipleship and leadership training.
More than a Job
When a student applies for an oncampus job, they quickly learn that it is more than just a paycheck. With a Christ-centered, career-ready focus, student employment builds skills to enhance one’s resume. Dean of Students Frank Judson says, “The student teams are learning that they can be responsible for campus tasks, and they can make a real difference through their work.”
Key Areas for Growth
Student employees grow in various stages of learning objectives, including valuable career skills such as effective communication, organization, problem solving, teamwork, dependability and customer satisfaction.
For Hannah Phelan, a Secondary Education-English major, her work in the Recreation Center strengthened her ability to work well in a team. “Our group was really good about communication and being willing to work with and for one another,” she admits. She developed communication skills and practiced reliability—skills that are exactly what her future employers will be looking for.
Haley Seboe (’17) credits her student employment with providing her the skills necessary to land and succeed in an internship at Regular Baptist Press near Chicago, Illinois. She says, “You can learn do’s and don’ts in the classroom, but having the opportunity to work and have leadership responsibilities as you are learning teaches you how to apply the classroom to real life.”
As she worked on campus in the Underground Café and Summer Crew, her supervisors were intentional about developing her work ethic and soft skills that would benefit her in her future career. Seboe continues, “This student employment and discipleship process is something that makes Clarks Summit University very unique. You won’t find the same intentionality or discipleship mentality at many other schools, especially with a program that is so carefully developed and tailored for CSU students.”
Students learn time management, punctuality and dependability through regularly scheduled hours. Even tasks like cleaning bathrooms and serving coffee are intentionally structured to produce professional, personal and spiritual growth. Students develop administrative and organizational skills by assigning tasks based on team strengths and weaknesses. In addition, students learn that performing customer service is not just essential, it can also be enjoyable.
Providing Leadership and Mentoring Opportunities
Student employees work through three layers of leadership, developed by retired faculty member Dennis Wilhite—leading oneself, leading individuals and leading a group or organization. This discipleship model not only strengthens leadership skills; it also shows examples of sacred living in daily tasks. Titus Emmett, a Camping Ministries major, saw this modeled well as he worked in the campus Mail Center. He quickly noticed the student leaders using and teaching what they had learned. He shares, “It has been great to learn about discipleship and leadership in my classes and then to see it applied right away at work.” Seeing older students model leadership has encouraged Emmett to excel in his own leadership roles. He values gaining professional experience under the safety of a boss who is there to help him learn. Judson echoes, “Using teams led by students gives the student employees the opportunity to engage in experiential learning in a safe context.”
The discipleship structure includes mentor meetings to encourage spiritual growth. Seboe praises the benefits of required mentor meetings and group Bible study, “These experiences helped each individual process the learning experience, and the individual growth contributed to the team growth.” Phelan agrees, “Our student leaders are being poured into, which helps them pour into their team members, who in turn pour into those around them.” This biblically based model of discipleship forms a solid foundation for CSU graduates to build on.
-Julie Wilson (’96, ’18) is a Communications-Writing graduate from Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania