Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Power of Internships

You’re ready to break into a new career. You’ve already taken bold steps by committing your time and energy to pursuing your education. You are confident in your newly honed skills and knowledge.

However, it seems like every job description you read requires experience in the field. You need a job to get experience, and experience to get a job. You’re stuck in an endless cycle!

Don’t get discouraged – get proactive! You can leverage your student status to get that essential experience, form contacts within your new field and develop your portfolio.

How? Through the power of internships!

These aren’t the internships of the past, consisting of shuffling papers and fetching coffee for a salary of $Free. Instead, today’s internships are geared toward fostering industry-specific knowledge, connecting an intern’s work with organizational goals and training new workers on what’s needed to succeed. In fact, many internships now are paid (though the range of compensation varies by field, employer and opportunity).

So now you’re wondering, when and how do I get started? Right now! Late winter is a good time to start the hunt for an internship, as many organizations start recruiting for summer opportunities during this season. Here are Career Development Services’ suggestions for finding high-impact internships:

1. Internal Internship: Many Peirce students work full-time or part-time jobs while they take classes. Leaving those jobs for a temporary internship is usually not feasible (or advisable). However, if you’re in good standing with your employer, they may be willing to grant you time to shadow a department relevant to your field of study, collaborate on related projects or match you with a mentor to suit your professional development. Going about this may be tricky! Be specific in your requests to your manager and be ready to field concerns. Prepare some examples of your success and be confident in your ability to do two things at once!

2. Cooperative Work Experience: Why not build course credits while you build work experience? Commonly called Co-Op, this is a 14-week opportunity for you to sponge up on-the-job knowledge while reflecting on your experience through homework assignments tied to your professional goals. Co-Ops start in January, May and September each year. Ask your Academic Advisor or Career Development Services for eligibility requirements and more information!

3. Job Postings: Employers are looking for fresh perspective and new prospects for their employment pipeline. There are several sites that frequently highlight internship opportunities (campusphilly.org is a good place to start), but you will see them posted on regular job boards too. Be investigative as you search. Is the internship paid? Is it offering the type of experience you need to break into your field? How long would it last? Is there a chance of full-time employment after the internship? Know what you’re getting yourself into before you commit, and remember that an interview can be a great time to find out whether the culture of the organization could be the right fit for you.

4. DIY: What if you don’t see any internships in the exact field you want to break into? What if there is an organization with a mission you love, but that doesn’t have any current job openings? Use your creativity and drive to make your own internship! Assemble a proposal to present your target employer specifying how you’d like to collaborate. Be specific about your skills and knowledge and how you can benefit the company. Internships might not be something they typically do, but a solid proposal and the appropriate amount of interest on your part could create an “in” to an organization you love.

As you consider which strategy might be the best fit for you, remember that internships should be a harmony of what you’re bringing to an organization and what you can take away. Develop a strategy early and commit to the internship process, so you can make the most of your experience.

For more helpful information, check these sites for internship listings:
If you have more questions about the nature of internships, review the helpful guidelines published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

For further advice and information on internships or any career path, contact Career Development Services at 215.670.9202 or cds@peirce.edu. Best of luck with your internship search!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Congratulations to Uva Coles – recipient of the 2018 Social Innovations Higher Education Award

I am honored to announce that last night Uva Coles, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Strategic Partnerships, was the proud recipient of the 2018 Social Innovations Higher Education Award! This award shines a spotlight on the important work Uva has led here at the College, including building and sustaining relationships with cross-sector partners; addressing and tackling economic mobility and social equity challenges; building diversity and inclusion awareness and strategies in the workplace; and much more.

Peirce College is honored to have such a passionate and committed leader focused not only on fulfilling the College’s mission but on supporting the diverse workforce needs of the City of Philadelphia. This nomination affirms both Peirce’s investment in this critical work as well as Uva’s steadfast dedication.

At Peirce College, we understand the importance of making quality education accessible, student-centric, and workforce relevant. Since we opened our doors to veterans and women in 1865, we have built a legacy of inclusion. Today, our commitment to access and inclusion is also expressed through our focus on socioeconomic mobility. And we are aware that we can amplify the scope of our work by finding better ways of serving our students—meeting them exactly where they are.

We continue to search for better ways to address the needs of our students. From our unique partnerships with Year Up, Deliverance Evangelistic Church, and Comcast Internet Essentials, to our innovative delivery models like Peirce Fit® and CBE, to our expansive network of corporate and institutional partners, at Peirce College, we are focused on holistically addressing students’ needs in creative and collaborative ways. And we’re just getting started. To learn more about Peirce’s approach to workforce solutions and community impact, check out this article published two days ago by the Social Innovations Journal, which details our strategy and our hopes for the future.

Thank you to all those who voted and congratulations to Uva for her win last night! We are so proud to be represented by a leader who lives and breathes our mission every day.

Friday, January 19, 2018

No Amount of Time Could Keep Mindy Harrell from Achieving Her Goal

Mindy Harrell, a Peirce College Paralegal Studies student, is the perfect example of how non-traditional students can chase their educational dreams while maintaining a work-life-school balance.

After graduating from The Community College of Philadelphia with her associate degree in 1996, Mindy decided to take some time off from school. Nineteen years later, she realized it was time to go back. There was no more delaying her next educational goal.

Mindy, who works at Philadelphia Gas Works as a General Clerk, originally discovered Peirce College at a time in her life when education was the last thing on her mind. She had already worked at PGW for years, and though she thought she would need a bachelor’s degree to climb the ladder in her office, she was content with her situation. But then everything changed one day at work.

Like most other days, Mindy was at work completing her many duties. It was Steve Bird, Peirce College’s Manager of Corporate Partnerships, who made this one day unique for Mindy. Steve was at the PGW office holding an info session about PGW’s partnership with Peirce.

Upon learning that PGW was one of Peirce College’s employee partners and that she would receive a 25 percent discount on her tuition, Mindy had just one more person to speak with before making her decision. She connected with her boss and learned she could be promoted after earning her bachelor’s degree. Mindy was sold.

In 2015, she enrolled at Peirce College and has been juggling her full-time job, attending classes and taking care of her 12-year-old daughter ever since.

“Life definitely gets hectic, and I wish I had some more free time,” says Mindy, “but earning my bachelor’s degree is a goal I’ve set for myself, and I’m sticking to it.”

Though she is proud of herself for pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Mindy admits that her time as a student hasn’t been without any hurdles. “Since it had been quite a while between my time at CCP and when I started at Peirce, it was more difficult for me as an adult student. But that’s only because I have more on my plate these days; I have my work life, my daughter, school and I also try to fit some fun in there!”

When asked to share advice to other adults considering returning to college to complete their bachelor’s, Mindy doesn’t hesitate. “Don’t put it off!” she exclaims. “I waited 19 years, and I know that others are out there in my same situation. I would urge all of the people like me to consider how they’ll feel when they earn their bachelor’s degree, and all of the windows it can open for you. That’s what keeps me going.”

Mindy is set to graduate in the spring of 2019, and Peirce College wishes her a bright future throughout the rest of her studies, through graduation and beyond!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Partnerships, today at 215.670.9203 or ttschop@peirce.edu.

Peirce College and PGW have been valued partners since 2006. PGW employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25 percent tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit peirce.edu/apply.

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit peirce.edu/corporate-partners. If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Steve Bird, Program Manager, Institutional Partnerships, at 215.670.9375 or swbird@peirce.edu.

Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK Day of Service 2018

On Saturday, January 13, 2018, the Peirce College community—students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college, came together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy through a day of service. Partnering with Thomas May Peirce Elementary School, our volunteers rolled up their sleeves and invested their time, talent, and Peirce enthusiasm. They painted, decluttered spaces, cleaned classrooms, and tidied the school’s library. The team was so energized, some volunteers started to plan a follow-up return to the school. It is their desire to further spruce up the school’s hallways with Peirce College paraphernalia. After all, it’s never too early for children to start thinking about college!

At a time when our nation grapples, daily, with discourse that reveals profound, historic disconnects, it is sometimes challenging to find common ground—to remember that what connects us is significantly greater than what divides us. As our volunteers—from varied neighborhoods, backgrounds, and perspectives—came together for Philadelphia’s 23rd annual Day of Service, they served as great reminders of the power of service. Of locking arms with singular purpose, connecting, communicating, and collaborating for a greater good.

Admittedly, our Day of Service may not have solved our most pressing issues. But it was a great answer, a forward step toward Dr. King’s timeless words, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?” On Saturday, January 13, the Peirce College community locked arms and responded with a resounding, unified voice, “service.”

To all volunteers, thank you!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Conquer Those Session Start Jitters

On Tuesday, January 16, we welcome back our faculty and students for another new start: Session 3. Not only do we have returning students, but we have many new students who are joining the Peirce Community and for some, the college experience, for the first time.

This new adventure is exciting, but it can also be a bit nerve-racking. Alexandra McShane can relate. At this time last year, Alexandra was getting ready to start her educational journey with Peirce College’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.

“I was a little intimidated when I first started in Session 3,” recalls Alexandra. “Most people had already been at Peirce since the fall semester and were already into the swing of how things worked here.”

But Alexandra knew it was what she wanted to do. After working in a small law firm for some time, she found a passion for legal studies. She knew law school wasn’t what she wanted to do, but a paralegal career seemed to be a path that piqued her interest. She began researching the requirements and found a track that brought her to Peirce.

“I noticed that most jobs required either a bachelor’s degree as well as a certificate in Paralegal Studies, or a bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies. Since I had already received a bachelor’s, the certificate program was my best option,” says Alexandra. “I enrolled about a week before the semester started, and Peirce completely accommodated my needs in time.”

As of January 2017, Alexandra was on her way to her dream career. She said deciding on going back to school was a bit easier than actually doing it, but it all fell into place once she started.

“The most difficult part for me was getting back into the swing of school life after being out for so long. There was almost a 10-year gap between me completing my bachelor’s and starting for the certificate. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle the school, working full time and my personal life, but I am happy to say it was a lot easier than I could have imagined.”

After a successful first year, Alexandra has some personal insight for our newest students beginning during the same nontraditional session as she did. Thinking back on where she was a year ago, Alexandra realizes there was no reason to be afraid of heading back to school.

“Since I enrolled so late, I wish I would have known how accommodating Peirce was so I wouldn’t have stressed out so much about starting school again,” explained Alexandra. “I also wasn’t sure if I was making the best move for me career wise. However, once I finally started classes here, and began to learn how many resources Peirce offers, I knew I had made the right decision.”

Additionally, Alexandra has some advice to share with new students to alleviate some nerves during their transition. “The best advice I can offer is to not stress about anything,” she says. “The faculty, as well as the staff, will be your biggest advocates. Use any resource you can, never give up and always remain confident in yourself.”

Thank you, Alexandra, for sharing your story and experience with our newest students! We wish Alexandra and all our students a successful Session 3!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Military to Master’s – William Blackman Has Done It All

At the young age of 67, William Blackman joined the Peirce College community to accomplish his goal of obtaining a college degree and to inspire his grandson to value the importance of education.

Taking a trip back in time, William graduated high school in 1964 and immediately joined the military and then the Philadelphia Police Department. After a few years working in law enforcement, he decided to give college a try.

College turned out to not be the right fit for him at that point in his life, but that was okay. He decided to focus his energy on the Philadelphia Police Department, continuing to protect and serve for 23 years. After retiring, though, from the police department, William wasn’t done yet.

He re-entered the military and began assisting younger soldiers with their education. That’s when he found Peirce College.

Steve Bird, now Peirce College’s Program Manager of Institutional Partnerships, was then our military student recruiter. After being in contact with Steve, William began sending some of his fellow soldiers to Peirce to further their education.

Following his commendable military career, William officially retired and said to himself, “what’s next?” Knowing the other soldiers’ positive experiences with Peirce and now having a grandson looking up to him, he decided it was time to chase (and complete) his dream of obtaining a college education.

In 2012, William reached back out to Steve. Before he knew it, he was all set up to start earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

In December 2014, William accomplished his goal and proudly graduated with his bachelor’s degree. But, as history would have it, he wasn’t done yet. He enjoyed his undergraduate experience so much that he wanted to continue inspiring his grandson through the power of example by keeping his education going.

William joined Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management program the next year and started chasing another goal. “The transition from the bachelor’s program to the graduate program was easy!” says William. “Once you entered the program, everyone cared about you and wanted to see you graduate.”

And graduate was what he did. In August 2017, William officially completed his master’s program and will walk in the June 2018 commencement ceremony.

William only has good things to say about his time at Peirce.

“I valued my time with the classmates, the deans, the professors. The entire staff of Peirce is fantastic. They will stop and talk to you. Peirce knows their people.”

He also has some inspirational advice for anyone thinking about going back to school.

“Consider Peirce College for your undergrad or graduate degree. Peirce College cares about people. Everyone wants and tries to get you to graduate. Everyone becomes family and family wants to see you succeed.”

Finally, William has one final shoutout to the people at Peirce who helped him accomplish his educational goals.

“I really want to thank the professors, staff and classmates for helping me and for the encouragement to continue on. You all helped me pursue my endeavors of graduating with both my bachelor’s and graduate degrees.”

Congratulations to William Blackman! We wish him nothing but success on wherever life takes him next.

If you or someone you know is interested in earning their bachelor’s degree, reach out to Undergraduate Admissions at 215.670.9000 or admissions@peirce.edu. If you or someone you know is interested in earning their master’s degree, reach out to Graduate Admissions at 215.670.9325 or masters@peirce.edu.

Friday, January 5, 2018

January Program Feature: Healthcare Administration

Peirce College students have choices, with programs ranging from Information Technology to Business to Health to Legal Studies. In fact, there are so many options that you may not be familiar with all of them. Over the next year, we want to change that. We’ll introduce you to one program each month through student and alumni testimonials, program updates, faculty perspective and so much more.

The first program up to bat: our Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration (HCA), which Peirce College began offering in 2010. Since its development, many students have graduated with this degree and entered the workforce seeking out an administrative or managerial career in settings like hospitals, ambulatory care, healthcare insurance companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

To get the inside scoop on this growing program, Jennifer Shaw, a 2016 Peirce College alumna, shared her story and experience working in the field.

Jennifer has been a Peirce community member since the early ‘90s, having graduated with her Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration in 1995. That means she has plenty of insight on Peirce’s health programs and the opportunities they offer.

Following her first Peirce graduation, Jennifer found herself not utilizing her degree right away as her time and energy were immediately given to the Philadelphia Police Department for 15 years. Following her police career, she was offered a promotion by the City of Philadelphia to a position within the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

That’s when Jennifer found her way back to Peirce College.

“The location of my job was just around the corner from the Peirce Campus. I walked by quite often and always wanted to return. Peirce always felt like a home of sorts to me,” explains Jennifer, “With my new position being in the field of Public Health as well as it being an Administrative field, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take my education a step further.”

Jennifer joined the HCA program in spring 2013, ready to advance in her career, but she got much more than that. “What I valued most was the time that my professors were able to apply to my education knowing that, like myself, they also worked full-time jobs during the day,” she says. “Teaching classes in the evening as well as online and being available to their students was a blessing.”

Jennifer expanded on her experience with the program by exclaiming, “I learned so much from my program! Yes, we were taught anatomy and physiology and medical terminology, but we were also taught compassion, public speaking and people skills. I was taught by professionals in my field. They did talk the talk and walk the walk. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Jennifer’s promotional job led her back to school, but there was also something else pushing her. “I wanted more for myself and my son. I was a single mom by the time I applied to Peirce and knew at that point that I could handle being a mom, working full-time and being a student again,” explains Jennifer. “I wanted a career and not just a job. I had always enjoyed learning. I just knew it was the perfect time.”

She knew it wouldn’t be easy, and it would differ from the traditional-age path, but she also knew Peirce had what she needed to succeed as an adult learner in her dream program. “The big difference is that I had a full-time career, a teenage son, a home and family to take care of as well as bills to pay. I had adult responsibilities that traditional school-aged students aren’t privy to.” But she never let the differences or difficulties stop her.

In June 2016, Jennifer graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. Continuing to follow her dreams, she landed her ideal career. She is now the Executive Secretary II in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which she calls “an amazing place to be.”

Jennifer Shaw found her place at Peirce in the Healthcare Administration program. You can, too. Contact an Admissions Representative today at 215.670.9000 or admissions@peirce.edu to find out more.

Check back in each month to see what program will be featured next!