Story by Faith Ulate
Many students at Whatcom Community College are on a journey to find a career path toward their desired occupation. How to go about it and what direction to take are some of the obstacles that one might encounter. The Career Center has been designed to help students with different tools to help reach their goals and get on the right road to success.
The Whatcom web site says the Career Center provides a wide variety of services to help students with career planning. There are advisors available by appointment to help students with future planning. Some of the assistance they could receive is resume writing, interviewing skills, cover letter ideas, and how to network as well as other job related skills.
They also post jobs on the Whatcom website under the Career Center that come directly from Whatcom, Western Washington University, and other businesses around Bellingham.
Faith Foster is someone who has benefited greatly from Whatcom’s career center. Foster, 55, didn’t know where to start when she came back as a student after being away 20 years. “I came in here knowing what I wanted to do, and it didn’t fit in a box of any of the certificate or professional programs,” she said.
“I had no money, didn’t know if I could get financial aid, but I was determined to make it work so I could do what I wanted to do, which is study Chinese medicine,” Foster said. “The Career Center gave me a job and helped put me on the right path toward where I wanted to go.”
Foster now works for Whatcom’s Career Center. “It’s scary as an older adult to make a transition, but I wanted to show others that a year after being here, I’ve been successful.”
In the Career Center, Foster posts jobs, writes the online blogs, makes print-outs, keeps records, helps with cover letters and works with students at whatever capacity they may need towards getting the type of job they want, she said.
One of the ways Foster helps students do this is with a program called WOIS (Washington Occupation Information System).
This is a series on the computer that shows students what type of job they may be interested in by the assessment of skills and surveys they take. It gives a graph to show their strengths and also options for different occupational positions they may have never even thought of. Students are able to see what areas these occupations are being offered as well as the salary for those jobs.
“If you have that passion and determination, you can do whatever you want to do,” said Foster. “It’s never too late to become who you’re meant to be.”
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