October 13, 2020

BRAC & Local Universities Band Together to Retain Graduates to the Region

BRAC & Local Universities Band Together to Retain Graduates to the Region

Louisiana State University, Southern University, and The Baton Rouge Area Chamber have combined efforts to retain graduates in the region by leveraging and utilising an existing talent recruitment platform, as reported by the LSU Media Center earlier this month.

The trio of educational and city-wide institutions will focus on connecting students to career opportunities through their participation in professional internships, thus setting students up for successful, extensive careers by giving them personally-tailored, hand-on experience by way of the Handshake platform.

Handshake is a university-based online, career resource that brings students and alumni together to offer personalized career recommendations to students. Recommendations made are based on individuals’ interests and network, allowing applicants to explore potential career pathways and build a new career by discovering new opportunities, employees, on-campus events through the Handshake platform.

Both LSU and Southern have invested in the Handshake platform in 2018, and as of today roughly half of the student population of both universities have active profiles visible to the 489 active employer profiles in the region. The platform itself allows employers of all sizes to create a profile at no cost to potentially recruit talent and graduates from LSU and Southern, as well as the over 900 other universities on the platform. Once having created a profile, employers can post job opportunities, filter candidates, and schedule interviews from a single log-in, thus saving more time for business-owners to find the right match for their company.

The president and CEO of BRAC, The Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Adam Knapp remarked to LSU journalists that this collaboration is a “ historic joint commitment of our region’s traditional four-year institutions to be intentional about connecting students to local internship and job opportunities. Now more than ever, talent drives economic development, and our college students are one of our greatest assets.”

The collaboration from LSU, SU, and BRAC holds all three institutions accountable for expanding the number of active student (graduates) and employer profiles in the system. They’ve implemented a system with a larger goal to increase the awareness of the Baton Rouge region as a vibrant, prosperous community in which recent, rising, and former graduates should consider launching a career. They do this by implementing strategic data tracking to measure applicant progress, advocating confidently for paid internships as both a critical, necessary part of the curriculum and of talent pipeline management strategies.

Hoping to get new users registered and matched with an employer, BRAC will be hosting workshops with each university’s career services centers to help employers set up Handshake profiles, learn how to most effectively engage with the Handshake platform and access the multitude of additional resources available through the career service centers.

Businesses located in the Baton Rouge region are encouraged to take the following steps in the next six months in order to both support and participate in this effort:

  • Activate an “employer” account on Handshake
  • Attend one of the Handshake 101 workshops offered by BRAC
  • Create a ‘paid internship program’ and recruit for it through Handshake
  • Recruit candidates for entry-level positions through Handshake

While initially beginning with Louisiana State University and Southern University, the BRAC will be pursuing similar agreements with the other postsecondary institutions in the area, namely, Baton Rouge Community College, FranU, and River Parishes Community College in order to retain even more graduates to the area.

Handshake’s Vice President of Higher Education and Student Services, Christine Cruzvergara commented by stating, “Access is the most direct path to opportunity, and we’re excited to partner with BRAC to help students connect with local businesses. This initiative demonstrates the strength of Handshake’s platform to help more students easily discover opportunities and help employers recruit young talent in an efficient and cost-effective way.”

For more education related information, click here.

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