Rollins Announces Share the Light Jobs Challenge

September 22, 2020

By Rob Humphreys ’16MBA

Students walk past the rose garden on their way to commencement.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Rollins seeks alumni support to help the Class of 2020 launch their careers.

Rollins has embarked on a bold new initiative to help every 2020 graduate secure a job opportunity within three months.

The Share the Light Jobs Challenge calls on Rollins’ alumni network to share any openings—full- and part-time jobs or internships—that could provide recent graduates with meaningful employment in the worst job market since the Great Depression.

“From faculty and staff to parents, friends, and alumni, everyone in the Rollins community can leverage their expertise, positions, and networks to support our students’ professional success,” says President Grant Cornwell. “As we all know, our graduates are uniquely equipped to lead. Now more than ever, they just need the opportunity to prove the value of their Rollins education.”

Cruel Twist of Fate

In early March, the Class of 2020 was poised to enter one of the strongest job markets in history. With the advent of COVID-19, everything changed.

ZipRecruiter postings for entry-level jobs typically filled by college graduates fell 73 percent. Unemployment for ages 20 to 24 skyrocketed to nearly one in four workers. And according to research from past downturns, it could take this year’s graduates more than a decade to recover from the current economic conditions.

More than half of Rollins’ 627 Class of 2020 graduates (College of Liberal Arts and Hamilton Holt School) are actively seeking their first job, including academic and athletic standouts like Erin Crawford ’20 and Justin Karlins ’20. Crawford, a sociology major, captain of the softball team, and vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, interned with the federal government and a digital marketing agency before graduating in May with a 3.88 GPA.

In February, she had three interviews lined up. When the pandemic hit, those jobs disappeared. So did the contract work she was performing for a local company’s HR department.

“I felt like I had really prepared for postgraduate life, but it’s been a struggle,” says Crawford, who is seeking work as a recruiter. “I’m willing to go anywhere in the U.S. for the right fit.”

Karlins, a political science major and four-year member of the golf team, graduated with a 3.95 GPA and numerous academic achievements. He’s thankful still to be employed part-time at a local golf course, but his real dream is to work on a political campaign or in national intelligence.

“It’s so hard right now because there are just no jobs available,” says Karlins, a two-time winner of the Crain Scholarship for leadership in political science. “Having an alumni network help us get started or make a connection—that would be so meaningful to so many people.”

Students in caps and gowns walk to their commencement ceremony at Rollins College.Students in caps and gowns walk to their commencement ceremony at Rollins College.
Photo by Scott Cook.

How to Help

The Jobs Challenge is part of the College’s newly launched Share the Light initiative, a platform for alumni and the greater Rollins community to bolster financial aid and student success in the face of the pandemic. Soon, the campaign will grow to include other career-focused opportunities, such as interning, mentoring, and in-class expertise.

A collaboration between the Center for Career & Life Planning and the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Jobs Challenge will pair recent graduates with positions that best suit their skill set and purpose.

Job opportunities can be submitted by filling out a brief form online. A member of the Career & Life Planning team will then follow up with more details.

“Rollins has a long tradition of serving those in need,” says President Cornwell. “During this time, I can think of no better way to serve our newest graduates than by tapping into the resources of our vast alumni network. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of young men and women, opening doors for them to rise above a litany of challenges and forge productive careers.”

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