Every year, companies from across the US come to the University of Arizona to recruit the best of the best. From business to high-tech innovation to biomedical engineering, graduates from the UA – with a great education and a powerful degree under their belts – benefit from wonderful opportunities and countless career paths.
Forty-five to 55 percent of recruiters who come to the Tucson campus come from the Metropolitan Phoenix area. In February 2011, Phoenix ranked as one of the largest generators of net jobs in the nation, along with Washington, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
And when it comes to reaping the benefits of the work that goes on at the UA, Arizona is getting a lot in return. Sixty percent of UA students stay in Arizona after graduation, and many of those end up in Phoenix, establishing careers, building families, and giving back.
How could the University of Arizona optimize this synergistic relationship between the state’s top research university and the Phoenix economic powerhouse?
Strategic Development of Employer Relationships
In July 2011, University of Arizona Career Services announced a strategic expansion of employer outreach with a brand new position based in Phoenix. Kara Weller, UA’s new Assistant Director of Employer Development, Metro Phoenix, brings nearly a decade of higher education experience to this new post, including lessons learned from her most recent position at ASU’s W. P. Carey MBA program.
UA Career Services Director Eileen McGarry created the position to extend and enhance employer relations for UA students and graduates. She said, “As a land grant institution, UA seeks to provide the state an educated workforce to serve the needs of the greater community. We are excited about the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm Kara brings to this position.”
Weller has an interesting background, not to mention an incredible appetite for hard work. Her career path has included working as a writer/editor for her college newspaper, basketball referee, professional spokesperson for several Fortune 500 companies, downtown San Diego peddycab driver and restaurant critic. She compiled quite a career portfolio even before her college graduation.
Weller has presented at the international MBA Career Services conference on outstanding services for Part-time MBAs and at MPACE (Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges and Employers) on technology, survey methodology and ethics. She served as a member on the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Ethics Committee and as Board and Conference Chair for MPACE in 2010 and is presently on their Technology Innovation Committee.
When asked about the challenges of representing UA in Sun Devil territory, Weller met the question head on. “Challenges are awesome. The things that are most challenging are most exciting.” She identified the immediate challenge as community presence.
“I want everyone to know we’re here as a resource, consultant and partner in the state’s economic growth and more specifically, to help companies in Phoenix strategically grow their workforce, attract new companies to the region and to more efficiently and effectively support their recruiting efforts to attract and retain talent. This means shifting the Phoenix community’s image of UA in Tucson to University of Arizona – we represent the whole state. We’re not the University of Pinal or University of Tucson; we’re the University of Arizona.”
Story credit: Susan Miller, Senior Marketing Coordinator