Brookline’ College’s motto of “small school, big future” takes center stage in what Mandie Benavidez and Elise Alva, Co-directors of Student Outcomes, do every day in the Career Services department.
“We’ve really looked at the career and the student as a whole and where can they take that,” says Benavidez. Benavidez and Alva—along with faculty and staff—work together to make sure students have the resources they need to succeed throughout their program and beyond. Some diploma programs—such as medical assistant—can be completed in as little as nine months after their hands-on externship. However, those graduates can always re-enroll to get an Associate degree, then a Bachelor’s and ultimately a Master’s. “So, we build our curriculum and our courses for the lifecycle of their careers,” Benavidez says.
The mission of Career Services is to help every student find an entry-level opportunity in their field of study.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of Brookline students are currently interviewing for jobs or have been hired and are in queue to begin working. “Obviously, there’s more opportunity for medical personnel to get hired and less opportunity for other areas, so it has changed some,” Alva says.
COVID has also brought changes in the hiring process. There’s a lot of interviews that are done online remotely or screening the students remotely rather than an in-person interview,” Alva says. “For the most part, we have connected with employers with more job openings.” Many of the job opportunities for graduating students are either remote positions or in the medical field. “The students submit their resumes. They either do an in-person or a remote interview and then the start dates have actually been quicker than normal,” she says. In normal times, companies would schedule new-hire orientations once or twice a month, but now they’re just onboarding new employees sooner rather than later because they need staffing during the COVID crisis.
This strange time we’re in is also giving Brookline the opportunity to get back to the basics of connecting with recruiters and employers and build relationships, as well as help identify who Brookline College is. As Benavidez says, “It’s professional students who have the competencies needed, both academically and professionally, to succeed in the marketplace.”
The process to ready students for the job market involves more than just giving them the academic skills to succeed. “We work with them throughout their program to ensure they have the professional skills needed in the marketplace: coming to school with the right attitude, understanding what employers need professionally to dress for success, the way you carry yourself, your appearance, building a social media platform, goal setting right up until they complete their externship and through hiring,” Benavidez says.
Brookline’s programs are all hands-on, which helps students know what to expect on the job. “I think the real- life experience with the externships and internships is really beneficial for the students to have hands-on training because that’s what they will really do in the field,” Alva says. In addition, Alva and Benavidez coach students when they’re nearing the end of their programs. “We help the student with mock interviews, getting them ready with interview skills,” she says. “We teach them how to reach the company, how to design their resume to send off to the employer and also how to follow up with the employer after an interview.”
Whether it’s giving general support and encouragement or offering interviewing techniques and tips for making a good image, Mandie Benavidez and Elise Alva are hands on throughout the process. They want to make certain students have both the academic and professional competencies to succeed. “We remind our students and graduates why they got into it in the first place—to really help and change lives—and that’s what they do on a daily basis,” Benavidez says.
In addition to helping current and graduating students, the Brookline Career Services team provides continual placement assistance to all alumni, as well as help with resume writing, refreshing interviewing skills and conducting job searches.
Contact Brookline College to find the program that will lead to a rewarding career.