Free Community College: What's all the Buzz?

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The average American is carrying around $27,000 in student-load debt in 2015. American's are either not going to school for the first time or not furthering their education because they can't afford it or don't want the debt.

In the January 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama introduced many proposals, but one in particular stood out in the education field: Free community college tuition for everyone.
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College Majors: The Dying and The Surviving

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College Majors: The Dying and The Surviving

The summer is a great time to enjoy nice weather, have cookouts, and spend quality time with your loved ones. Whether it’s your own child, niece or nephew, or maybe even friends of yours, more than likely you know someone that will be going off to college in the next couple of years.

College can be an overwhelming decision for a lot of teens, so the more guidance they have, the more equipped they will feel to make informed decisions. 

There is a lot that goes into this decision, but one thing is for certain: not all college majors are created equal. According to a 2014 report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, choosing a college major substantially affects employment prospects and earnings.

So which college majors hold the least and most value in terms of career prospects and expected salary? Below is a list of the top 6 best and worst college majors in 2014 to discuss with your loved ones before they go back to school in the fall.
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How to Build a Tuition Assistance Program

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How to Build a Tuition Assistance Program

As college tuition rates continue to rise, offering employees an opportunity to go back to school and earn a bachelor or a master’s degree has increased in value. Many employers have taken advantage of the opportunity to boost their benefits package and offer tuition reimbursement to their employees.

According to the ERC 2013/2014 Policies & Benefits Survey, more than half of the participating employers offer a tuition reimbursement program to employees. If you are among the employers considering the option of offering this benefit, here are some questions and recommendations to consider when launching a tuition reimbursement program for your employees:
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Even More Reasons to Hire Interns & Recent Grads

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According to the 2013 ERC/NOCHE Intern & Recent Graduate Pay Rates & Practices Survey 85% of employers with internship programs in place indicated that they will be either maintaining or expanding their programs in 2013. Organizations also report that 48% of their entry-level positions are filled using new college graduates. These numbers clearly demonstrate an ongoing commitment by Northeast Ohio organizations to building strong internship programs and bringing young graduates into their workforces. However, this year’s survey also reveals some unexpected opportunities and perks that further bolster the importance of hiring interns and recent grads from more of an organizational development perspective.

Building Networks

Employers looking to hire interns or recent graduates continue to collaborate closely with colleges and universities in the area, most often using the job boards at colleges and universities themselves. This strong connection between the area’s higher education institutions and local employers is also thriving on a more personal level with 61% of respondents taking time to build relationships with professors in order to find interns and 40% drawing upon their alumni contacts when seeking new college graduates to fill positions at their organization. Despite a strong focus on online recruiting overall, employers still find value in the face-to-face networking opportunities that their connections to colleges and universities provide.
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An Employer's Guide to College Recruiting

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You have everything to offer: jobs to fill, a great workplace, exciting career paths, meaningful work, and a terrific staff. How do you leverage all of this to gain an edge in recruiting a fresh, talented, and enthusiastic May grad? We've compiled a brief employer's guide for successful college recruitment.

Identify talent needs. Determine the talent you need now, the talent you will need in the future, and which departments would benefit from a new college graduate or entry-level role.

Get rid of your traditional practices. Young people are drawn to innovative and non-traditional organizations. Dress down, color your walls, open up your office environment, and change your policies. Attracting this generation requires thinking differently about work.

Create an online presence. Young people spend the majority of their time online and on social media outlets. Use social media, your website, and mobile apps to engage with young people and highlight your culture and workplace.

Build an attractive employment brand for young people. What does your organization offer that is unique and that young people want? Young people generally desire to follow their passions, work on something meaningful, develop their career, and have work/life balance. Create a compelling message that attracts the younger generation.

Promote clear career opportunities and paths. Young people are concerned about the career opportunities they can take advantage of at your organization and how you will develop their careers over time. If they can't see a future at your company, they won't apply.

Make the recruitment experience fun. Whether it's creating an attractive booth at a college career fair or inviting students to fun social events to learn about your workplace, make their experience exciting and memorable and they won't forget your organization.

Use your young professionals to connect and engage with students. Send your other young professionals on-campus and encourage them to connect and engage with students. Have them tell positive and compelling stories about their careers and experiences at your organization.

Engage them over time. Maintain communication with students, especially if you begin recruiting early. Send them emails, call them, and let them know you are interested in them, particularly the exceptional talent that is vetting offers with your competitors.

Develop relationships with key faculty and college career centers. They will recommend top students to you and suggest jobs at your organization to students. Select and target efforts at a few key colleges with quality programs applicable to your staffing needs.

Create a job shadowing experience. Allow students to job shadow and witness your day-to-day operations to help them understand the job and experience the work environment. Pull out the bells and whistles and "wow" them with your hospitality while they are with you.

Use internship programs. There's no easier way to hire a May grad than by converting one of your interns into a full-time hire. You get the benefit of testing their skills and experiences before making an investment.

Provide the right pay and benefits package. For many college grads, their final decision comes down to basics: the highest offer and best benefits. Make sure you know what other companies are paying new college graduates in your geographic area, otherwise you may end up making an offer that is unattractive to your candidates and all of your fantastic recruiting efforts could go to waste.

College recruitment provides the opportunity to acquire fresh talent with tons of potential. Every organization can and should take advantage of these strategies to land a great young hire. 

Additional Resources

Intern & Recent Graduate Pay Rates & Practices Survey This survey collects information from Northeast Ohio employers about their internship and recent graduate employment and pay practices - including intern pay rates and college graduate starting salaries. This survey provides important information for employers planning to hire interns or new graduates.

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ERC offers a broad range of HR consulting services and has expertise in developing selection systems, recruiting, and developing job descriptions. For more information about these services, please contact consulting@ercnet.org.

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