Mentoring is key for career success for new Clark grads
by Erica Schwenneker
Mentorship as a teaching tool and for career success for Clark graduates was the key takeaway from a recent Clark College Foundation event.
The event, part of a series of special gatherings called Conversations, was held on May 22 at the home of generous supporters and partners Tom and Jen Cook. The Conversation events, which occur throughout the calendar year and are hosted by friends and supporters of Clark College, showcase the college’s programs, alumni, students and faculty.
Business leaders from throughout Clark County gathered to hear more about Clark’s efforts to infuse entrepreneurship throughout its curriculum as part of an initiative called Guided Pathways. Guided Pathways is Clark College’s academic and support services overhaul aimed at improving completion rates for students.
Tim Cook, Clark’s vice president of instruction, explained why it’s critical to teach entrepreneurship skills across all academic areas.
“If you develop entrepreneurship programs in the business department, you’re going to miss students who aren’t in business – who are in engineering, or nursing” but who also have an entrepreneurial spirit of leadership.
|Learn more about Clark’s entrepreneurship program, including ways to become involved at the college, by contacting Hal Abrams at 360.992.2301.
Discussions then ensued among the more than 50 business leaders in the room, who were asked to share their perspective on what qualities they think students need in order to succeed in today’s workforce.
Their answers addressed many traits: from critical management skills, such as flexibility and open-mindedness, to having a sense of one’s personal mission, to effective communication skills.
However, there was one overwhelming answer to the best way students can develop and refine entrepreneurial skills: mentoring. Without access to people to create a support structure and navigate opportunities with, students may bring passion, but will lack expertise to bring an idea to fruition.
Several ideas, from one-on-one mentor pairings to “speed-dating”-style sessions to participation with a class or club, were discussed as possible ways for the business community to interact with Clark students.
“It is good to hear that people are interested in helping students, and are willing to talk to students,” said Clark student Alicianna Massey, who attended the event. “It is also helpful for us, as students, to know from leaders what they are looking for.”