With headlines of underemployed college graduates routinely making national news, the College of Mount St. Joseph is launching the Talent Opportunity Program (TOP) this fall, an innovative program designed to add elevated career service opportunities for full-time students who enroll—for free—in the program. With TOP, the Mount pledges to pay for an additional package of career coaching services by a leading Cincinnati-based company for students who complete the gold level of the program, but who are unable to find a professional job within six months of graduation.
“We firmly believe that our students’ well-rounded education, coupled with opportunities from co-op and service learning experiences, puts them right in line to land professional jobs after graduation. We have co-op positions for every major which gives all students a chance to earn money while getting hands-on experience,” said Tony Aretz, Ph.D., president of the Mount. “But students and their parents want to see more of a commitment for their investment. The Mount guarantees students who complete the gold level of TOP will be career ready. If they don’t find a professional job within six months after graduation, then it’s on our dime to get them additional career services.”
Freshmen and sophomores have the opportunity to register for TOP through the Mount’s Career and Experiential Education Center once a semester. Juniors and seniors must have taken prior professional development classes to be considered for upgraded participation. The three levels—bronze, silver and gold—consist of professional development courses, leadership development activities and attendance at career events which will include leadership speaker series, networking events and workshops. When a student has completed the gold level, the full complement of TOP services will be available to them upon graduation.
“A liberal arts education prepares all students for a strong career experience,” said Maggie Davis, Ph.D., associate academic dean at the Mount. “Our goal is to achieve an even higher percentage of graduates working in full-time, professional jobs sooner after graduation.”
The Mount’s latest employment survey of its graduates from 2011-2012 shows the employment success rate students who graduated in 2012 is 83.5% and 88% for students who participated in co-op jobs. Eighty-eight percent of the 2011-2012 graduates responded to the 2012 survey.
Promark Company, a Cincinnati-based firm specializing in career coaching services for 45 years, is partnering with the Mount on the TOP program. “The Mount has a good track record of graduates finding jobs after graduation, but there’s a national trend of college graduates being underemployed,” said Tim Schoonover, president and CEO of Promark Company. “It speaks volumes for the College to say, ‘We’re not just going to talk about the value of your degree, we’re going to give you our word that we will help you in your career search, even once you are out the door.’”
According to a national study in 2011 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 59% of new graduates were employed full-time within six to eight months of graduation. Based on preliminary results from the same survey in 2012, the number dropped to 46%.
The College of Mount St. Joseph is an undergraduate and graduate Catholic college that provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional curriculum emphasizing values, service and social responsibility.