Don’t Donate to Scholarships!  Donate to Your Career Center

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Show your commitment and support to helping millennials launch and lead successful careers by redirecting your contributions to the career center.


elton small The other night I saw a commercial that showed celebrities holding up signs of the various causes they support.

Within 15 seconds, I was reminded of dozens of causes and issues that affect real people and that deserve our attention and support to solve.  The celebrities were reminding us about heath care, childhood diseases, issues affecting veterans, as well as issues facing the disabled, homeless, women, and a variety of community-related issues.

The next day as I was flipping through channels, I landed on the CSPAN Live Congress Channel where I watched Sir Elton John testify in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee about research conducted by his Elton John Foundation.

Sporting pink glasses, wearing a wedding ring and accompanied by his husband, Sir Elton John was urging the Senate Committee to ramp up funding and do everything possible to end the global epidemic of HIV/AIDS.

It was a fascinating moment to see a rocker from the 1970’s whose life style and behavior would not have been supported by many members of Congress/nor the Senate, being lavished with respect, attention, and praise for his commitment to the cause of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In contrast, I flashed back to an another congressional committee meeting I watched in October where Hillary Rodham Clinton was grilled for 11 hours by members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, concerning her alleged incompetence in preventing and mishandling the aftermath of a terrorist attack on our Benghazi, Libya diplomatic mission, despite a lifetime of her commitment to the rights of the disabled and disadvantaged.


On the next channel, I saw Matt Dillion giving a talk to the National Press Club about the tens of thousands of Rohingyas Muslims who are literally floundering in the Bay of Bengal, without a place to go, as they fled from violence in Myanmar.

So much need and yet so many compassionate, caring people rising to help their fellow man!

Who is stepping up to the plate to help college graduates?

On one hand, you really can’t compare the life-changing effects that the civil strife and terrorism experienced by millions of families in Syria with the plights of graduates, but nonetheless, graduates are facing issues that deserve to be addressed by industry, colleges, organizations and alumni.

  • According to Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce the millennial generation makes up about 40 percent of the unemployed in the United States
  • Nearly 12 percent of graduates are defaulting on their students loans and nearly 33 percent end up in forbearance or deferment which increases their debt substantially

And millennials are entering an employment market where salaries are flat and according to a study at Oxford University this generation will see 43 percent of jobs replaced by software and technology in the next two decades.

It is bad, and it’s only going to get worse!

This generation is also bearing a significant share of the cost of education.

Members of my generation lived in a time when the state and federal government subsidized and supported higher education.  Today, the cost of an education has shifted to students and their families. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, seven out of ten 2014 graduates leave college with an average of $28,950 in debt.

Be an advocate and supporter for students at your alma mater!

You’ve walked the same paths, had the same courses, gone to the same events and enjoyed the same bars as the students who are in college today.  You have a vested interest in their success, and in a small way, you can draw attention to their plight the way Elton, Matt, and others draw attention to causes they are concerned about!

Be a change agent at your alma mater!

The issues millennial college grads face are real.   Anthony Carnevale (mentioned above) says graduates are feeling let down by their universities, even as the institutions jack up the cost of tuition.

“I don’t know if you noticed,” he says, “but we have a debate raging in this country right now over whether universities are supposed to teach for enlightenment or to prepare students for the job market. You still see presidents at some very prestigious universities arguing for the former, not the latter.” (Newsweek)

Surveys by the Higher Education Research Institute show that nearly 87 percent of students are going to college to better their career chances, yet there is a good chance that your alma mater is not committing enough resources to support their desires.  Proof of that can be seen in the results of a NACE study that showed the average career center had to absorb a 22 percent budget cut from 2007 through 2014.

Research is showing millennials are having, and will continue to have a tough time in the labor market.  It’s a problem that someone has to take up and solve.

So why not you!

Here are three – quick and simple – things you can do to draw awareness to the issues this generation is facing and put your money where your mouth is!

  1. Raise a discussion at your alumni events and in social media and other contact with your alma mater.
  2. Email, call and write administrators at your alma mater and encourage them to put more resources, focus, and energy on supporting the number one reason students are going to college.
  3. Instead of supporting the next request by your alma mater to contribute to the scholarship fund, suggest that they direct your donation to support your career center.

I know the career center staff will thank you for your contribution and support to give your future alumni a shot at launching and leading a successful career!

What do you think?

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Don Philabaum
Love to find ways to use technology help more grads and alumni develop successful career strategies.
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum

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