Center focuses on career, job, life development trifecta

Donald Mineo, career guidance officer, speaks to an academic planning class about online resources and personality tests to help students determine careers. (Oliver Yu)

Nadia Afredi

Whether help is needed to find a career or job, or to troubleshoot one’s life, students at Saddleback College and community members can easily find it at the Center for Career, Life, and Development. 

“We’re a comprehensive Center,” said Donald Mineo, career guidance officer.

There are three main areas of focus at the CCLD: career, job, and life; each being equally important in making the Center a whole, Mineo said. 

A computer lab is available for students in career search classes. Career workshops are offered in the Center and computers are widely used for that purpose.

“We’re known to be a widely used computer lab, with a pleasant and helpful environment,” Mineo said.    

Career assessments or inventories are also used in and out of the classroom. Web links are available on finding the best career for each individual student.  Online, an “Insight Game” can be accessed by students to evaluate their own personality and link that to available careers best suited to their needs and abilities. Another career resource available is “Career Cruising,” which is designed to assess one’s skills, and then explore careers and plan one’s future education or training.

“We work one-on-one with students to discover their passions,” Mineo said.

Through the Saddleback College Foundation, funds have been provided to purchase new books, more online materials, and e-books to students, Mineo said.

“The e-books have tripled our holdings of materials in the Center,” he said.

The career division of the Center also offers university catalogs, personality assessments, and information regarding majors. Information on how to obtain financial aid, grants, or scholarships is also available by the center. The jobs part of the Center includes opportunities to network with representatives of local businesses. Center workshops help students with resumé writing, interview techniques, and a job or internship search.

Online, students can learn how to conduct the perfect interview by practicing with a training tool.

“Now that you’ve gotten through summer, go back and update your resumés,” said Eric Hilden, career placement officer. “You never know when you’re going to need an updated resumé.”

An online job board called Gaucho Jobs lists full time or part time internship opportunities locally and regionally.

“Do not fear the media reports, there are still jobs out there in the world for people to obtain,” Hilden said.

Hilden works with students to develop a career plan. He also organizes career fair days on campus.

Sholeh Alizadeh, re-entry specialist, runs the life part of the Center, known as the Re-entry/Women’s Resource Center.

This part of the center serves students 25 or older returning to school or work after a break.

“They come to me when they don’t know where to start,” Alizadeh said.

Services amount to a crisis intervention team, providing unemployment benefits, facilitating support groups, and just being an all around troubleshooter for all returning and potential students. 

“I put their issues under a magnifying glass and sort it out for them,” Alizadeh said.

She assists students on their career direction, assesses their needs, and provides appropriate referrals.

“I make sure they’re on the right track,” Alizadeh said.

The Center also has a social networking component.

“We were the first on campus to set up a MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter account,” Hilden said.

Hilden advises students to use their social networking accounts for potential job opportunities.

“We want to outreach more through various social networking accounts,” Mineo said. “Our community is not just the local community, but rather the world wide community.”

The CCLD is located in SSC 140. On Mondays-Thursdays, it is open from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. and on Fridays, it is open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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The Career Center offers guidance on career evaluation, job searching and life skills. (Oliver Yu)

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