For college students facing graduation and a tight job market, the adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” could be the key to their career futures. Attendees at the 2013 Afrikan Black Coalition Conference may gain an advantage over their job hunting peers by getting to know corporate recruiters—the agenda for the Feb. 15-18 conference at UC San Diego includes an opportunity to meet potential employers eager to interact with this diverse group of UC students.
The University of California Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) is designed to unify student organizations dedicated to the black cultural experience across the UC system. Attendees are comprised of student leaders actively engaged in social, educational and political dynamics within their campuses. The ABC Conference, led by the UC San Diego Black Student Union, is supported by student organizations that include the Black Graduate Student Association, the National Society of Black Engineers/Jacobs School of Engineering student chapter and the African Students Association. The conference was last held on the campus of UC San Diego in 2005.
The Career Services Center at UC San Diego offers a wide range of programs and services to help students and alumni seeking job opportunities, changing careers or considering graduate school. The center is not just for graduating seniors—other students, undergraduate and graduates, can benefit from the many services offered, from career advising and internships to job fairs and networking events. The center helps students determine and fulfill their career goals. Annual surveys conducted by the center have reported that about two-thirds of UC San Diego’s undergraduates join the workforce directly after graduating; the other one-third go into various graduate school programs.
It’s never too early for students to visit the Career Services Center website at http://career.ucsd.edu, where they can access timely and essential information.
The theme of the 2013 ABC Conference centers on bridging African-American politics and progression with personal development, professional development and leadership. New to the conference this year is the Industry Networking Night. Other activities include student workshops, caucus sessions, a community action project and networking opportunities for students across the University of California system.
“The Afrikan Black Coalition Conference will help inspire hundreds of students from all over the state of California by providing a vehicle for information and empowerment that may positively impact the trajectory of their academic and professional futures,” said Linda S. Greene, UC San Diego’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion. “UC San Diego is both honored and thrilled to be the site of this conference. The commitment of these students to positive change and empowerment strengthens our UC system. They already play an important role as leaders on our campuses. We must ensure that the UC education we provide prepares them to lead in their community, in business and industry, and in public institutions domestic and international.”
As part of UC San Diego’s Black History Month celebration, the campus will host more than 600 students from nine UC campuses and San Diego State University attending the 2013 Afrikan Black Coalition Conference. Companies such as Intel Corporation, the platinum sponsor of the conference, are looking forward to meeting students at the Friday, Feb. 15 Industry Networking Night.
Denise J. Davis, diversity staffing program manager at Intel Corporation, explained, “At Intel, our people are our greatest asset and we depend on the diversity of their backgrounds and perspectives to power our innovation. Each employee's unique perspective and experience help make our company what we are today. That’s why we tap the diverse, global reservoir of talent to recruit and hire new employees.”
The event will offer an opportunity for conference attendees to connect and network with leaders and recruiters in the business community who are looking to hire talented University of California students. Corporate sponsors will man information booths, and will also present workshops with themes that include Relationships, The Institution, Implementation and Best Practices.
In addition to Intel Corporation, sponsors of the 2013 Afrikan Black Coalition Conference include CareFusion; Comerica; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; GEICO; Hewlett Packard; Kaplan, Inc.; Life Technologies; Qualcomm; Union Bank; and Wells Fargo.
The Career Services Center at UC San Diego has been actively collaborating with the ABC Conference planning committee on the corporate networking event, including last week’s preparatory workshop for UC San Diego Black Student Union students on how to make the most of a networking event. The Center has been involved in the logistics, marketing, employer identification and other efforts for the Industry Networking Night, and will have staff at the Friday evening event.
UC San Diego’s Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) is also collaborating with the 2013 ABC Conference on an informational workshop for students looking toward graduate school. The session will offer a glimpse of graduate student life, opportunities post-graduation and information about the graduate school application process. There will be faculty, graduate students and staff from UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, Education Studies, Biological Sciences, Bioengineering and other areas available to talk to conference attendees.
Since its inception, empowerment has been a central focus of the ABC Conference, encouraging students to educate themselves to better empower themselves and their communities. This year, the incorporation of the Industry Networking Night and collaboration with the Office of Graduate Studies are new initiatives, providing connections that will arm students with additional information needed when they graduate from the university.
Frank Robinson, senior vice president and public affairs manager for Union Bank, added, “What attracted Union Bank to sponsor this event were my past experiences with University of California students—they are proactive thinkers who aren’t afraid to come up with ideas to promote change. That is the type of mindset that Union Bank looks for in our employees.”
The newly incorporated initiatives that will take place at the ABC Conference signify a growing and collective effort between students and UC San Diego to realize a transformative vision to advance equity, diversity and inclusion. If successful, it is the hope of the students that these programs will be replicated at subsequent ABC Conferences.
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