A little over a year ago I sat with a group of parents whose children were about to become freshmen at Albion College. It was a get together suggested by a long-time family friend and local leader, Dr. Harry Bonner and Troy Kase, Albion College’s Director of Career Services and Internship Programs graciously agreed to be the host.
Since then, Vivian Davis, one of Albion’s educators, thought leaders and provocateurs has been a catalyst for getting me back to Albion to lend a hand.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Albion, think rust belt—think of a city that at its peak boasted of having 16,000 residents, many of whose grandparents and great grandparents migrated there from the hills of Kentucky and the black belt of the South in search of meaningful employment.
There were also Greeks, Russian Jews, Italians and a smattering of other groups brought together by the existence of well-paying factory jobs.
It is where the “Old Rugged Cross” was written and Mother’s Day founded—a proud city that today lacks the essential economic core to continue its existence. But for the College, Albion would have already become a historical echo.
Dr. Bonner and others have continually reached out to those of us who reaped the benefits of Albion’s bounty—doctors, lawyers, PhD’s and a multitude of professionals who have moved away. Each has been asked to come back and help in any way we can.
The highly positive reaction from parents that day led me to better understand what I might do in Albion and elsewhere to heed Bonner’s call. Parents wanted to know why the information and associated tools we introduced were not more readily available elsewhere?
That’s one of the many reasons why the central theme of my new company, College To Career Catalyst, LLC is to make our information available to parents throughout the country at as little or no cost to them as possible.
We know parents are worried about the future of their kids. They should be. Most have already heard that 48% of recent college graduates have part-time jobs; 41% earn less that 25K; 35% have an average debt of 35K and 36% move back home to live with their parents mainly because they cannot afford to do otherwise.
This is happening at the same time we keep telling our kids to go to college, get a job and join the middle class—an objective that seems less possible than ever before.
For many college graduates, the job market is a major disappointment. For the traditionally underserved, it is a psychological and economic disaster.
What’s Happening Now
Parents would like advice about how they can help their kids use their college degree for career success. The ideas we shared with the Albion College parents laid out a blueprint for how to make it happen.
We want parents involved before and after their kids go off to college. But it is not the kind of overbearing involvement that leaves them open to being labeled as “helicopter” parents.
I am this week returning to Albion to help put in place an outreach to parents and their college-bound students so that upon graduation they are positioned to use their degree for career success.
We recognize when colleges and universities partner with parents in the career management process, they are better positioned to attract high-quality students—an important consideration for the nation’s liberal arts colleges.
College athletic programs that focus on academic and career success are better positioned in the recruitment process as compared with others. (See my latest mini-book, Parents Playbook: 7 Rules to take Your Athlete From College to Career).
There is more we will share in the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, if this resonates with you, consider contacting me and leaving a comment.