Klein College's Office of Career Services recently conducted an employment survey that collected responses from 91 percent of graduates from August and December 2016 and May 2017. The numbers were encouraging: 89 percent of the alumni who responded reported that they were working in full- or part-time positions or had decided to continue their education. Of those who responded, 70 percent were working full time, and 81 percent of those alumni working full time reported that their positions were related to their majors.
These new numbers are the result of hard work by Lu Ann Cahn, director of Career Services, and others in her office.
"It's really rewarding when you find out that someone got a job," said Cahn.
The jobs Klein College students found after graduation are impressive. The positions include: a sports director at ABC 10 in Sacramento, California; a graphics coordinator at MSNBC; an international advertising and events coordinator for Hearst Magazines International; and a production assistant at the NFL Network. But these details were not so easy to come by.
Since Cahn first arrived at Klein College, getting accurate numbers had always been her mission. The first time she tried to survey students, she had trouble getting a sufficient amount of responses and the results were, quite frankly, less than the promising. But this didn't stop Cahn from trying. She knew that students were finding jobs and that her original numbers were not truly indicative of that reality. So, in her second attempt, she began incentivizing students to respond. She managed to include the survey at an event where students were picking up graduation tickets (a free T-shirt also helped).
Cahn tried this method a few times until she managed to get an 80 percent response rate from students, which, while impressive, still resulted in somewhat disappointing results. She realized that the problem with her method was not just the number of responses she was receiving but the lack of follow up. So she sent out an email to those who had recently graduated—not just asking if they had found a job, but telling them if they hadn't found one, she was there to help.
"It said, 'We're not leaving you,'" Cahn said. "It said, 'Do you need help? We are here.'"
If they were unable to get a response from that, Cahn, her student staff and administrative coordinator Ruth Beale checked LinkedIn (verifying the information with the person in question), and made phone calls to learn more. They also relied on help from faculty members who had kept in touch with their students.
"That 91 percent knowledge rate was a pure team effort," said Cahn.
The faculty and staff's collective effort, Cahn believes, not only provided the school with better statistics to work from, but it lets the students and alumni know Klein College cares about its students.
"As it turns out, students really want to hear from us," she said. "It's nice for them to know, when they left, the door didn't shut behind them."