This summer, the UNC alumni relations team has been engaging alumni experts to identify employment opportunities, to connect recent graduates with alumni working in the careers they are pursuing, and to gain industry insight from alumni insiders. Our Bears Hire Bears summer outreach campaign is helping us proactively connect with hundreds of alumni from across the UNC Bear Network.
Last week, our team chatted with alumna Deana Lemos-Garcia '05, '18 of the City of Greeley, and alumnus Dr. Thomas Hartman '07 of the Governor’s Colorado Workforce Development Council.
Our conversations focused on impacts of COVID-19 on state and local governments, impacts to employment opportunities across the state, and FREE resources available to graduates entering or re-entering the workforce.
Across both conversations, these alumni seemed excited about resources available to workers statewide, and optimistic about workforce trends in industries UNC graduates were receiving degrees in.
For City of Greeley Human Resources Manager, Deana Lemos-Garcia '05, '18, employee use of HR resources was a highlight. More than ever, employees are using mental health, and financial planning/support resources. She was proud that the City had access to these professional services, and that employees were reaching out to receive the support they needed.
Deana also shared the challenges that COVID-19 presented to professionals working in local government. Budget shortages, and closings of parks, recreational facilities, and pools, meant more than 280 seasonal employees had been laid-off, and more than 85 full-time employees had been furloughed. But, with changes in state policy, staff are returning to their posts as parks and centers reopen.
Deana suggests recent graduates “Be strategic on where you land. Just because a job is open, it doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. If you do take a role meant to be a steppingstone, set a time frame (1-3 years), and take the knowledge you gain into your next role.”
Deana also recommends that graduates “Reach out to companies you’re interested in. They may not have jobs posted, but they may be hiring. In times like this, sometimes companies don’t have the money to post and promote jobs, they just need someone to fill them.”
Colorado Workforce Development Council Consultant, Dr. Hartmann '99 provided an important perspective on workforce trends across the state.
“Although we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, employment trends are up in areas where UNC graduates are getting degrees. We continue to see strong demand for employment in Healthcare, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Marketing, Sales, and Education.”
Dr. Hartman shared additional optimism surrounding the upcoming legislative session. Speaking to legislation being proposed around utilizing prior industry work experience toward receiving college credit for an academic degree in the field.
Research surrounding transportable skills was also a topic Dr. Hartman touched on. “Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and Burning Glass Technologies (Burning Glass) joined forces to study the national demand for, and professional and career impact of, key transportable skills: problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethical reasoning and mindset.”
Vital skills all alumni need to acquire because of their universal utility, and transportability from job to job, employer to employer, and across the economy. All skills UNC graduates possess when entering the job market.
FREE resources available through the State of Colorado:
- My Colorado Journey – A free statewide platform that connects you to work, education, support services and action planning.
- Connecting Colorado – A state and county-run system that delivers immediate, tangible results for your future. You can post your résumé, apply for a specific job or do a self-directed job search through our jobs database.
- CO Workforce Centers – A local workforce center map with links to services at each.
- LMI Gateway – A dashboard of Colorado Labor Market Information, labor statistics, job search tools, and an informational directory.
UNC offers various resources and relationships to aid your career development. Put your Bear Network to Work by connecting with fellow UNC alumni on LinkedIn, joining one of our many alumni groups, or reaching out to alumni relations staff for support.