On March 1, the virtual Careers for the Common Good Job Fair took place through Handshake, during which University of Connecticut students could learn about jobs in which they could make tangible differences in the world through socially responsible career paths. Present at the job fair were representatives from various non-profit organizations, government agencies, benefit corporations, national service organizations, social enterprises and graduate programs. Students could sign up for sessions with representatives from the organizations. I met with two presenters from the fair: Emily Burnett, a graduate assistant and former interim site manager at UConn JumpStart, and Ann Marie Shanahan, a program coordinator of the UConn Neag School of Education.
JumpStart aims for every child to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Burnett explained that education gaps develop dependent on school funding and teacher availability, so JumpStart provides early literacy and socio-emotional skill training to children in low-income areas through weekly sessions. JumpStart UConn looks for undergraduate students in any major who would work well with preschoolers, and students often start in the fall semester. However, JumpStart is currently recruiting students for a few months beforehand so they can learn if they want to join during the fall recruitment cycle. Students can earn work study and volunteer hours. Individuals who complete 300 hours in one year with JumpStart can earn the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
I also met with Shanahan, from Neag’s Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG), where students with bachelor’s degrees enter a full-time, year-long program geared towards earning their master’s and teacher certification in the state of Connecticut. The program involves two full six-week summer sessions beginning May 31, followed by a fall internship program in which students are in schools for at least two days a week working with their future cooperating teacher. Shanahan discussed the importance of contacting the designated contact at the specific UConn campus in which students are interested in applying to. Students may do so at any point in their undergraduate career to have their transcript evaluated ahead of time to make sure all their classes are accounted for. Acceptance into the TCPCG generally requires taking a few more classes outside of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree.
Although I was not able to attend its session, the New England Center for Children linked a YouTube video of a previous info session in their event description on Handshake. The New England Center for Children, an autism center and research institute committed to aiding those living with autism, offers day and residential programs, partner classrooms in public schools and consulting services. The program is open to students of all majors.
The fair was presented by Careers for the Common Good, a collaboration between UConn’s Center for Career Development, the Office of Community Outreach and the Human Rights Institute. The Center works to help students network with value-driven organizations to make positive change in the world.