SANTA FE–Non-traditional technology and business students from six northern New Mexico colleges will have an opportunity to spend Valentine’s Day practicing skills vital to finding and establishing a career that they love. The “A Date to Remember: How to Stand Out to the Employer of Your Dreams” workshop is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 in the Jemez Room at Santa Fe Community College.
The Accelerate program is partnering with local and regional employers to host the one-day workshop for students graduating in 2014 with an associate degree or certificate. Accelerate is a program of the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) in collaboration with Santa Fe Community College, Luna Community College, New Mexico Highlands University, Northern New Mexico College, the University of New Mexico-Taos and the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos. The program increases timely technical degree completion, retention, professional readiness, and job placement for participating students.
Throughout the academic year, Accelerate’s Career Technical Advisors serve as coaches, advisors and mentors to help students navigate through any issue that might affect their school work. They also help students find internship opportunities and teach monthly professional readiness classes to prepare students for the workforce. A Date to Remember: How to Stand Out to the Employer of Your Dreams is the culmination of these classes, providing students with a dress rehearsal and constructive feedback from regional employers on their cover letter, resume, professional attire, and interviewing skills.
“Academics, technical knowledge and experience are vital competencies for our graduates,” said Gerard J. Martínez, career technical advisor at Santa Fe Community College. However, employers increasingly want assurance that students possess the ‘soft skills’ to work well with others and maintain professionalism in their job. Regionally and nationally, possessing soft skills is rising to the top of employer hiring criteria. Accelerate graduates have those skills and are being asked to demonstrate them before employers at this event.”
Representatives from some 20 regional companies and organizations will volunteer their time to work with more than 60 students in small group settings on resumes, elevator speeches, and mock interviews. Deputy Secretary Glenn Walters of the New Mexico Department of Higher Education will be the keynote speaker.
“Students that are entering the workforce really should concentrate on their interview and presentation skills,” said Karen Paramanandam, event participant and marketing director for Positive Energy Solar. “Employers are looking for employees that can problem solve, work confidently in a team environment and possess interpersonal communication and networking skills. It’s more than just knowing technical skills and acquiring a certificate or degree. It’s about possessing the soft skills necessary to cultivate a career.”