'World of Work' gets students ready for life after graduation


The idea of a world of work is all too familiar to Americans, a place where students are thrown after graduation and held until retirement.

But Rutgers Day had its own "World of Work" Saturday, sponsored by Career Services and the School of Management and Labor Relations, and University President Richard L. McCormick received the grand tour.

"Given the economy at large, we want to prepare students for work," McCormick said. "The University has a lot to offer. We try our best to prepare students for jobs and [to] get those jobs."

While Richard White, director of Career Services, provided McCormick with the tour, he said the light nature of the University's World of Work was a way of highlighting serious issues.

"[Career Services was] thrilled to have the president there and acknowledge the importance of the World of Work at Rutgers Day. But of course beyond Rutgers Day, it's a very important national theme right now," White said. "The theme of the work place, the challenges of tough economic times — it certainly affects the general public, Rutgers alumni and certainly our major priority within Career Services, and that would be those graduating seniors who are entering a very difficult job market."

With 299,388 layoffs in March of this year, national mass layoffs hit record-breaking numbers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From March 2008 to 2009, New Jersey alone saw an increase of 3.5 percent in unemployment rates, according to the Bureau. That number is .1 percent higher than the national average. The city of New Brunswick had an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent for February 2009, a steady increase from last February's 4.8 percent.

Instead of presenting job seekers with the harsh realities of the actual working world, McCormick shook hands with the vendors as they offered advice on interview skills, resume writing and career coaching.

"We had a variety of services. We offered two resumé writing workshops and two interview workshops, and of course the resumé is the ticket to the interview and of course the interview is the ticket to a job offer," White said.

With his wife at his side, McCormick wandered the World of Work, took a career quiz and met the Career Coach, Career Doctor and Career Fortune Teller.

"A little bit of levity but still a very serious message we were trying to convey," White said.

Of the 50,000 people who showed up for Rutgers Day, hundreds came to the Career Services' event.

"There were husbands and wives, parents, recent graduates and current students. High school students came as well, who were thinking about Rutgers and they were thinking about how a certain major would lead to a potential career," he said.

There was even an informational and educational Kids' Corner, which encouraged hands-on activities as a way to integrate children into the work world.

"In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to connect the University's resources with those we serve," McCormick said.


Sara Gretina

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