This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Intensifying Academe-Industry Employment Partnership Through the WPU Career Center
Western Philippines University (WPU)
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Leadership, Human resource
WPU established the Career Center on August 30, 2016 to help students in their career interests by providing resources such as links to industry partners for internship, job placement, career advising, and other opportunities. It was initiated by WPU President Dr. Elsa P. Manarpaac upon consultation with partners, particularly USAID-Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Program and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The Career Center was adopted from the Florida State University but managed by a Career Center Advisory Board composed of major industry partners in Palawan. The Career Center assists students in improving themselves through beneficial services such as E-Portfolio Registry, Career Fairs, Job Listings, Talent Mapping, and Mock Interviews
Background and Problem
WPU alumni were reportedly less competitive in terms of employment due to varied reasons, both personal weaknesses, lack of professional preparation to take on jobs, and mismatch of the job and academic programs and the needs of the industry. To address the problem, the Career Center was thought of to assist the students for vocational and occupational fitness and employment even prior to graduation from the university. The objectives of the Career Center are: provide a full-range of career advising and counseling services; provide career information to enable clients to make career decisions; increase awareness of clients on career programs and services; assist clients in linking with prospective employers; and enable clients to obtain relevant employment and professional experience prior to graduation.
Solution and Impact
It is the Mission of WPU to develop its students to become part of quality human resources for a dynamic economy and sustainable development. It is firmly believed that with the right employment training and preparation while still in the university, the students stand a higher chance in getting employed, alleviate poverty, thereby contribute to the country’s economy and in the attainment of sustainable development.
WPU key officials met with USAID-STRIDE, Chamber of Commerce and Industry on October 8, 2014 and on January 9-10, 2015 then participated in a Career Training Workshop on the development of Career Centers on August 3-6, 2015. To learn further about the operations and management of a Career Center, the WPU President and the Director of Office of Student Affairs and Services visited Florida State University (FSU) and Pennsylvania State University from January 24 to February 14, 2016. FSU provided testing instruments and other materials. From then on, various activities were held at the WPU Main Campus such as Students’ Success Seminar, Pre-Employment Orientation, HR International Orientation, and Student Volunteers’ Orientation. Finally, the WPU Career Center (WPUCC) was launched on August 30, 2016. After the launch, the WPUCC ventured into the delivery of its services to its student-clients such as the conduct of training and seminars on preparation of career e-portfolio, personality development, stress management, pre-employment, labor education, and IQ testing, career counseling, and hosting of annual job fair in the different campuses of WPU. From 2014 to 2018, a total of 4,989 have participated in job fairs with an average of 34% hiring rate.
From 2015 to 2018, a total of 219 partnerships with employers and 31 with government agencies and other stakeholders were forged. WPUCC became a benchmarking venue of other institutions. The faculty and staff of WPU participated in a talent mapping sponsored by DOLE through WPUCC. These opportunities would not have materialized and provided to the students if the Career Center was not established at WPU. The Puerto Princesa City and Palawan Chambers of Commerce and Industry did a study and wrote a concept paper on WPUCC to document its success.
- DOLE donated a kiosk for online job search.
- DOLE awarded free 225 slots for the Philippine Talent Mapping Initiative.
- WPUCC cited as best practice by AACCUP.
- SUCS visit WPUCC for benchmarking
- WPUCC presented as best practice in the National Student Guidance Strategy Workshop in 2017 and MIMAROPA Regional Committee Meeting for ESGP-PA/TES in 2019, both hosted by CHED.
- WPUCC was accredited as a Job Placement Office by DOLE on March 22, 2019.
- SITEL recognized WPU as its MOST ACTIVE ACADEME PARTNER IN JOB FAIRS on March 29, 2019.
WPU awaits the turn-over of a three-story building to house the Career Center. WPU is sourcing-out funds for Online Career E-Portfolio and Skills Registry System expansion.