April 1, 2004

C.U. Launches Hiring Program

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With graduation coming up, it’s job-hunting time — but seniors aren’t the only ones looking for employment. Cornell is stepping up its own search with a new program, the Cornell Recruitment Partnership, which was launched yesterday by the University’s Recruitment and Employment Center.

CRP is a partnership between the University and 38 employment agencies and other organizations. Its purpose is to aid these organizations in dealing with what several people described the “maze” of Cornell’s hiring procedures and organization. It also seeks to increase the University’s diversity in hiring practices.

Constance Thompson, manager of recruitment and diversity, said that CRP is mostly focused on non-academic employment, but she added that its effects will “will trickle into the academic opportunities.”

Representatives from several of the recruitment partners met with Thompson, Desouza and other Cornell employees to launch the new initiative yesterday. The meeting consisted of a panel discussion about the program, a question and answer session, lunch and a bus tour of campus.

The meeting seemed to please CRP partners, who said that they are looking forward to working with Cornell to facilitate job recruitment for their clients.

“We see a sincere effort on Cornell’s part to open the door of opportunity,” said Maureen Curtis, a representative from the employment agency Challenge. “Challenge is happy to be part of the initiative. We find it to be positive and forward moving,” she added.

Challenge is a recruitment firm which serves people with disabilities or people who come from lower economic or educational backgrounds. Karen Edwards, who represented the New York State Education Department’s Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), agreed that CRP will aid workers who are trying to find work with the University.

“It’s a real good start to learn to navigate the maze at Cornell,” Edwards said. “We’re excited.”

Thompson and community outreach consultant Mary Desouza stressed that the diversity they hope to gain through CRP is more broad than the standard meaning of minorities and women. According to Thompson, they are also looking to hire employees from different economic and educational backgrounds.

“When you think of diversity, it’s not limited to what people normally think,” Desouza said. “They might process [things] a bit differently… [but] you get the results.”

Thompson said that “sometimes, people who haven’t worked in an academic environment are stereotyped,” and they are assumed to be unsuitable for employment at an academic institution. She added that Cornell has a reputation in Ithaca for having a “closed environment” and hiring few local residents.

“This definitely opens up the gates,” Thompson said.

Panelist David Richardson, diversity recruiter for Planning, Design and Construction Administration and Operations at Cornell, agreed that this was a big concern for the University.

“A lot of folks think Cornell is Big Brother up the hill, and this is a chance for them to get into Cornell and see it’s not as bad as they think it is,” he said.

Richardson said that he would like to see the Chronicle display job offerings in a more “use friendly” fashion. He said that he thought yesterday’s meeting was very receptive and offered “real good networking opportunities for everybody.”

According to Thompson, Cornell offers several hundred jobs a year. She estimated that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences hires more than 200 employees each year, a figure she described as rough but conservative, and that the Student Academic Services, Campus Life and Dean of Students’ office alone hire about another 300 each year.

The Recruitment and Employment Center does not hire directly, but recommends job seekers to other departments. Thompson described CRP’s role as a matching service between those who want jobs at Cornell but don’t know where to look and hiring staff. “Our goal is to let them talk to people who are close to the hiring process,” Thompson said.

She added that the effects are already noticeable. At the networking lunch that followed the panel discussion yesterday, employment agencies were already talking to Cornell representatives about people whom they feel would fit at Cornell.

Archived article by Yuval Shavit
Sun Staff Writer