DuPage County

Employers turn to College of DuPage for next hires

At the Career Service Center at the College of DuPage, it’s never been a better time to brush up that résumé and work on interviewing skills.

Krystina LaSorsa, the interim manager for the center, said from Oct. 1 to Nov. 18 there were 184 new employers who registered with the college’s online job posting board, Chaps Get Hired. And there were more than 550 new jobs posted during that same time period. This includes full-time positions as well as part-time work and internships.

With companies feeling the squeeze from staffing and labor shortages, one avenue has been to seek help through the college’s job posting board, which is accessible to students as well as alumni and the community, LaSorsa said.

“Everyone is looking for people,” LaSorsa said. “It’s really all over the board from business marketing positions to dental hygienists to accounting and home health care.”

While in the past COD has hosted a large in-person job fair in the spring, this year will look different with an online program, LaSorsa said.

“With the unknowns, we decided to keep it virtual,” LaSorsa said.

The Career Service Center has long been a hub for students seeking work while they complete studies or as they prepare to launch their careers.

“Our main mission is to prepare students for the workforce,” LaSorsa said.

She and her team help students craft cover letters, provide résumé support and can even help students prepare for interviews. Whether it’s a student searching for a position in their career or those seeking career changes, the center has helped students of all ages and work backgrounds.

This includes support for the Career Technical Studies area and the Project Hirer Ed program, an apprenticeship in which students receive hands-on training and earn credits. Often referred to as Earn and Learn, the program helps students build a career pathway and attain workplace skills.

With companies hiring and the uncertainty of COVID-19 lingering, some colleges have seen declines in enrollment. While this hold true for the College of DuPage, the enrollment decrease has been small, COD President Brian Caputo said.

Caputo said in the fall of 2019, COD enrollment was 24,000, and in the fall of 2021, the enrollment is 21,000. This figure does not include students enrolled in noncredit courses.

“COD is a comprehensive community college, whether you are looking to transfer general education courses to another institution or are enrolled in our very robust menu of career and technical courses,” Caputo said.

This fall, the school offered four modes of instruction: traditional in-person classroom learning; a hybrid model combining in-person and online learning; online instruction that is asynchronous, where a student works independently; and synchronous online instruction, which requires a student to be online for a set class schedule.

Caputo said about half the students were taking in-person classes and half were taking some mode of online learning during the fall 2021 semester.

“The online classes have become very popular and it seems like it’s meeting a need,” he said.

In the past, about 15% of students at COD would enroll in online classes. Caputo said they’d like to see the number of in-person classes increase, but that variable may depend on the pandemic, as well as students who juggle work studies.