JWU Honored by the National Career Development Association

Updated July 2022

NCDA Award Logo 2021

Johnson & Wales University’s Experiential Education & Career Services (EE&CS) is honored to be recognized as an exemplary career center by the National Career Development Association (NCDA). 

Recognizing and celebrating EE&CS, the NDCA applauded JWU for its commitment to thoughtful, innovative and effective initiatives that support career development.  

When considering schools for this award, the NDCA looks for what stands out about an organization’s services and goals, collaborations in the community, measurement of successful impact, challenges the organization was able to overcome and clear plans for future growth in programs that promote career development. 

“I was so pleased to see the efforts of my team lauded by this national group of career development professionals,” said Sheri Young, Ed.D., Dean of Experiential Education & Career Services. “This award acknowledges our support of students during the pandemic.” 

Adapt, Adjust, and Overcome

When operations on campus were abruptly and unexpectedly forced to go remote due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, EE&CS was less than three-weeks out from holding their annual Career Expo. The Career Expo, held annually in the spring, is EE&CS’s largest job and internship event of the year consistently attracting over 100 employers. The event also contributes largely to the number of on-campus interviews that are conducted each year. In 2019, approximately 2,502 interviews were conducted. 

Now, Young’s team was tasked with coming up with a solution in order to still hold the event. “We used a proactive approach to reaching all JWU students by phone with an intense focus on graduating seniors and students scheduled for internship,” explained Young.  

JWU EE&CS Virtual Job Fair Invite“We actively worked with the colleges to provide graduating students who weren’t able to secure an internship with case studies and projects with external partners such as TD Garden, New England Revolution, Marriott and Club Manager’s Association of America (CMAA).” All of this effort lead to an entirely virtual event, connecting over 300 students with 60 employers all around the country.  

Now, Young is certain that with this experience, they can use it to complement traditional in-person Career Expos in years to come. Adding she hopes it also opens the door to inviting students from both JWU’s Charlotte campus along with students studying online. “This opens us up to the possibility of a universitywide career fair through which all JWU students can attend, no matter which campus they belong to,” said Young. 

The NCDA Awards Committee also noted that they were deeply impressed by JWU’s comprehensive list of goals beyond this academic year, an excellent vision for the future of JWU’s career center and the level of transparency and dedication shown by providing a significant amount of data and statistics.

What is JWU’s Experiential Education & Career Services? 

Johnson & Wales University knows that in order for its students to be successful in their careers after graduating, they need a blend of both in-classroom learning and hands-on experience. That’s why EE&CS has been designed to help provide professional skills and career-focused education by providing students with services and support for experiential education and career planning. 

“We collect extensive assessment data from interns and their site supervisors on essential skills sets sought out by employers through JWU’s Experiential Education Outcomes – communication skills, work ethic/professionalism, problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability,” Young explained. “This data is used for improvements to the student experience but also has a direct impact in curriculum enhancements.” 

EE&CS offers a variety of internship programs and career services to students such as: 

  • Career management course
  • Résumé critiques 
  • Mock interviews 
  • Career fairs 
  • Exposure to industry professionals
  • On-campus interviews
  • And more 

These services assist students in building skills to obtain employment and independently manage their careers.  

Prepared for Success

Johnson & Wales is proud to have a career outcomes rate of 96.8%, and we have historically achieved rates that are higher than the national average. However, it’s no secret that a lot of the hard work that has been done to achieve that statistic is directly attributed to how hard students work. 

Through EE&CS, Johnson & Wales can “connect students with employers who are actively seeking to hire JWU graduates and interns,” explained Young. But once that connection has been made the key to success is entirely in their hands.  

“Getting experience is the key,” John Michos ’18 explained. Michos, who is now working as an Account Executives in Group Sale for the Washington Nationals, says that the success he’s found since graduating from Johnson & Wales can be directly tied back to his experiences as a student.  

“JWU emphasized putting yourself out there and learning outside the classroom,” he said. “The value of having no class on Friday gave us an extra day to work, volunteer and network which was a great learning tool and proved invaluable in gaining contacts, participating, and becoming involved with various events. These opportunities instilled confidence and made me prepared post-graduation. I was ready for interviews with an experience-filled resume. JWU gave me all the tools I needed to interview and ultimately get hired by a quality organization.” 

Read more now about JWU’s career outcomes rate and hear from some former students who are finding success in their careers. 

What is the National Career Development Association (NCDA)? 

The NCDA is the oldest nonprofit counseling professional organization in the United States. Its mission is to “provide professional development, publications, standards, and advocacy to practitioners and educators who inspire and empower individuals to achieve their career and life goals.”  

Currently, there are just over 4,000 active members with 46% from Higher Education institutions. The rest of the membership comes from career counselors with private practices (12%), career education/researchers (11%), high school counselors (9%) and a few other smaller categories.

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