Diversity highlighted at symposium

Diversity Career Symposium

Up to 200 students from Oregon State who identify with groups that are traditionally underrepresented on campus – e.g., people of color, who are disabled, are veterans, or are LGBTQ – will have an opportunity next month to attend a day-long career development event at the Salem Convention Center.

The Diversity Career Symposium is a partnership of OSU and the University of Oregon and is sponsored by Providence Health and Services, Wells Fargo, the OBA Education Foundation and Portland General Electric. It will be held Friday, Jan. 29.

Pam Knowles, executive director of industry relations at OSU, said the university became interested in an event of this type a couple of years ago because “employers were looking for diverse students, and we didn’t really have a way of connecting our diverse students with employers.”

Seeing the same need, the UO had already taken steps toward this type of event, and Knowles and Ronnie Casanova, Oregon’s assistant director for employer development, career services, decided to work together. That way employers could connect with job and internship candidates from both universities on the same day rather than having to go through the exercise twice.

Borrowing the UO’s framework for subcommittee structure, Knowles led OSU in setting up its own panels in areas such as student outreach, employee outreach and logistics. Oregon State raised about $60,000 to help put on the event, money that will among other things go toward providing transportation to and from the symposium for all Oregon State students who attend.

Sixty employers will take part in the event, which will feature morning and afternoon workshops, industry sessions, an “etiquette lunch” and a career fair.

“We want to help students start thinking about their careers at an earlier time,” Knowles said. “We provide workshops to go on their resumes, networking, that kind of thing, and the other piece is, hopefully they’ll have more awareness of what kinds of jobs and internships are out there.”

The goal is to have 200 students from each university attend, Knowles added.

For more information, visit http://www.diversitycareersymposium.com/tablet/index.html.

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