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Supporting Students from College to Career

Rainbow across blue sky with white cloudThe iconic, inimitable Maya Angelou encouraged us, in her Rainbow in the Cloud, “Stand up straight, and realize who you are, that you tower above your circumstances”. Angelou’s comment is not just descriptive. It should prescribe for us how to respond to a world that gives us things we would not ordinarily choose. 

Just on the horizon is our first anniversary in a pandemic, and that vista contains hope for a vaccination and an emerging return to being physically proximate to each other. We would not have chosen the pandemic. Yet, we are positioned to choose some of our responses to what is happening in the world—and, indeed, to tower above our circumstances. 

In the College of Arts & Humanities at Central Washington University, we’re using our circumstances to engage with our students in new and better ways. I was excited to announce to you in the last newsletter that the College kicked off advancement efforts for our C2C (Classroom-to-Career) and EthicsLab initiatives. The next year will be fortuitous in guiding the expansion of both efforts. 

The C2C initiative provides CAH students an opportunity to do something that is truly first of its kind at Central: externships. You are familiar with internships already. Externships are short (1-2 day) on-the-job shadowing experiences that offer students vocational clarity early in their time at Central. During the externship students get a preview of how their marketable skills are used on-the-job, and students evaluate their individual "fit" with a career, position, or organization. By sharing their expertise and professional journey with CWU students, externship hosts give students transformational career development. Hosts also build connections with the current College community that can also extend their employment pipeline and even, brand recognition. 

The program is ready to launch, and in Spring 2021 we are sending our first students off to externships (virtually, and in distanced, COVID-safe environments)! C2C has already energized many, and I’m delighted to report that, through the generous support of CAH alumni, friends, and supporters, we are able to fully fund all externships, so that students can travel, professionally dress, and experientially learn at no cost to the student!  

If you’re reading this, and are outside the university, please consider hosting one of our Wildcats for a day, whether on-site or remotely. If you’re reading this, and are at the university, please consider talking about externships with our students. And regardless of where you are, if you have any questions, please let me know.  

This pandemic has stressed and stretched us. Yet, we are choosing to continue to create possibilities for our students to have flourishing futures—to prepare them to tower above their circumstances and learn to stand tall despite them. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of our students! 

Story by:Dean Jill Hernandez, College of Arts and Humanities

Published: 2/19/2021

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