Students meet virtual employers
"Sometimes, employers want to come but they won't be able to attend, so we offer them the opportunity to participate online," Vivian Davenport, director of career services said. "People say there aren't any jobs available in Louisiana and that's simply not true. Employers want skilled workers and that's where there seems to be a shortage."
Davenport, who has a doctorate degree in educational and organizational leadership, says that graduating students of any age can begin a career as long as they're professional.
"It's all in the presentation and what the employer is looking for," she said. "I've suggested to students in their thirties with partially gray hair to dye it and make it all one color."
Davenport says this does make a difference and covering gray hair gives the person a more youthful appearance because the first impression is always the one that lasts.
"We currently have an 87.4 percent job placement rate at the school," she said. "The job placement used to be 65 percent."
Davenport has 30 years of experience working in the career services field and knows what employers today are seeking from graduates.
"The employers talk to the students before career day begins," she said. "They ask them ‘what are you looking for in an employer?'"
Davenport says that question is extremely important in determining what company to work for.
"Employers want someone who wants to work for them," she said. "They aren't seeking someone who is just in it for the money."
Davenport says that's how employers determine whose with the company for the long haul and who is not.
"Ask yourself this question when it comes to your career," she said. "If they stopped paying you today and you had to do it free of charge without taking a salary, would you do it anyway?"
Davenport says that's the difference in someone loving their career and someone just in it for the money.
"Our most popular career choices are auto design and computer automated drafting,” she said. “Instead of drawing designs with a pencil you do it all on computer.”
Davenport was hired post-Katrina to bring innovative ideas concerning careers to the school.
"Tuition has increased across the state, but there are funding sources for those that are eligible to attend the school," she said.
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