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New website aims to connect UW students, employers across Wisconsin

Falcon News Service

October 12, 2016

The UW System has unveiled a new web portal called Career Connect, meant to bring graduating students and Wisconsin employers together.

Launched in mid-September, Career Connect “was created in-house to help students get experience in their chosen field, while employers have the opportunity to capitalize,” according to a UW System press release.

Sections for both students and employers can be found on the website. The student section provides different links to third-party websites to assist in job and internship searches. It also displays upcoming events at every UW campus such as career fairs and industry expositions. The employer section has many of the same features but provides a separate page that allows employers to post job openings to a forum. There is also a tool that allows employers to search for certain programs in the UW System.

“This is a win-win for employers, our students and Wisconsin,” UW System President Ray Cross said in the press release.

The idea came from listening sessions held across the state, Stephanie Marquis, UW System interim director of communications, said in an email.

“We heard business leaders talk about the need to continue developing talent for the workforce of tomorrow, as demographics shift,” she said.

After speaking with business leaders, the UW System spoke with career service directors at the UW schools to get their input on the idea.

“The UW System career service directors were included in the planning and development process,” Melissa Wilson, head of Career Services at UW-River Falls, said in an email.

Wilson views Career Connect as an aid to UWRF’s Career Services instead of a replacement.

“The more resources available to assist students and employers, I think, is positive,” said Wilson.

UWRF Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Brad Caskey said Career Connect will fill a void.

“One of the things we have struggled with before in the past is connecting students with different kinds of occupations throughout the state,” said Caskey.

The listening sessions Marquis spoke about were part of a greater effort called the 2020FWD Vision.

“Through the 2020FWD framework, the UW System will inspire, connect, and convene with people, businesses, and communities of the state of Wisconsin,” according to the plan’s mission statement.

UWRF senior Keaton Anderson said Career Connect may help students who are having trouble finding a good internship or job.

“I think it could be a good idea especially for business people,” said Anderson.

UWRF senior Tom Thuente noted the success of similar programs on a smaller scale.

“I think programs like these have seen lots of success within individual colleges, like River Falls. We have Hire-A-Falcon,” Thuente said. “I do see myself checking these out. I’m currently a super senior, so I do plan on utilizing Hire-A-Falcon and actually going onto other school’s websites to see what the employment opportunities are.”

According to Marquis, 85 percent of UW System graduates get a job in Wisconsin, emphasizing the need for a portal such as Career Connect. The website’s address is wisconsin.edu/career-connect.