CJA alumni take myriad paths to meaningful employment: they have enlisted in the military, enrolled in graduate school, become tradesmen and began careers in social work, finance and education.
The College-Persistence (CP) team helps alumni secure meaningful employment in their field of career interest after they have graduated from college or a training program. Our definition of meaningful employment is based on a rubric assessing three criteria: forward path, meaning and purpose and financial balance.
For students who do not pursue post-secondary education, we have helped them secure jobs in the trades at companies like Capital Chimney Corp. and at employers such as Jewel-Osco, O’Hare airport, Panera or Starbucks. Alumni who have graduated college have secured opportunities at City Year, DePaul Law School, HUB International, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Morningstar, Viacom and Wintrust Financial.
How do College Persistence Counselors help alumni transition to careers?
- Frequent Contact: College-Persistence Counselors work closely with each alumnus as they transition to a career. The ultimate goal is for each alumnus to have a forward path, financial stability and meaning and purpose in their work. The CP Program actively supports alumni until the age of 25 or until they are meaningfully employed, whichever comes second.
- Alumni Events: CP Counselors continue to host alumni on campus as it is safe to. CP also holds monthly talking circles. Past topics include mental health, motivational struggles and triumphs related to the pandemic and living as a man of color. Outside of COVID, CP Counselors host bi-weekly open gym time on campus.
- Professional Networking: As alumni begin to identify their professional pathway, CP Counselors facilitate networking meetings with professionals in a variety of industries to help each alumni identify their career goals and expand their network.
- Mock Interviews: CP Counselors work with their alumni to mimic the interview setting. They strategize best ways to answer questions and how to make sure the alumnus shines. CP Counselors also facilitate opportunities for alumni to practice their interview skills with volunteers.
- Professional Writing Support: CP Counselors work closely with alumni on their resumes, cover letters and professional correspondence skills.
- Financial Planning: As alumni enter their careers, CP Counselors work with them to build personal budgets that help them meet their financial goals.
- Emergency Funds: CP is fortunate enough to have a small fund to assist alumni when emergencies arise such as food assistance and rent support.
The McIntosh Fellowship serves alumni who are on a variety of post-secondary pathways. The goal is for alumni to identify their personal strengths and consider how those strengths translate into a career. In previous years, this has included a pre-med major at the University of Pennsylvania, alumni at two-year colleges, alumni in trades programs and even an alumnus pursuing his GED.
The Fellowship program is typically held three days a week over the course of six weeks during the summer. College Persistence Counselors and mentors accompany alumni as they set clear goals; refine their writing, networking and personal finance skills; assess their mental and physical health and cultivate their professional networks.
As part of the program, College Persistence also offers guest speakers; pairs each alumnus with a writing mentor and a financial planning mentor and facilitates one-on-one mock interviews.
As we work with our alumni to chart their career paths, the CP Team facilitates internships in a variety of fields in Chicago. Current and past internship placements have included: Cooney & Conway, Wintrust Financial Corporation, The Heico Companies, Navman Wireless, Tegus and Walsh Construction.
Chicago Jesuit Academy is interested in forming internship partnerships that can lead to job opportunities for our alumni. Please reach out to Meg Mortensen at Mortensen@cjacademy.org for more information.