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By Billo Gatzonis
If you are looking for a program that talks about the important skills you need in your career, there is a program at Five Towns College that can help you. The Career Access Prep Program (CAPP) is a semester-long voluntary program organized by Student Access and HEOP that teaches students career values and awareness as well as assist students with their direction for employment. CAPP teaches these topics through dialogue and role-play exercises. Students will also acquire social networking skills. Due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the program will continue throughout the Spring 2020 semester using Zoom.
CAPP students receive guidelines on how to create a well-prepared cover letter and resume. They also learn how to develop confidence, ask the necessary questions, and learn how to navigate a job search. They are encouraged to be involved in activities that can help increase their experience in their chosen field. During certain weeks of the program, students have the opportunity to attend events such as the Dining Etiquette Workshop, Get Hired: Buzz Series, and employer events that help them to gain professional exposure.
In 2018, Director of Career Services Krysti O’Rourke and Director of Student Access Office Deseree Wiltshire created CAPP, which started with five students as a two-semester program. After completing the program, four out of the five students were able to obtain internships using the skills they learned in CAPP.
Wiltshire believes this program is a relaxed environment where students can come in and learn. “I feel like this program addresses the needs of students without the stress of grading, and I like the fact that we get to see students in a different light as well as they get to see us from a different perspective. I believe they know we are fully invested in their preparedness for employment, and that motivates me to give more and do more.”
Though the program took a hiatus in the Spring and Fall of 2019, CAPP is running again with 25 students who are part of the Spring 2020 program. Associate Director of Career Services Ryan Schimmenti and HEOP Counselor Cecelia Izzo have also joined CAPP to help students this Spring semester.
Schimmenti has enjoyed his first semester being a part of the CAPP Program. He sees students coming out of their shells and becoming connected through the program. “I believe in what we are trying to do, and it has been very satisfying to see certain students that aren’t normally as engaged really get into what we are talking about in the class.”
Izzo is also very excited about being a part of the CAPP Program. As a counselor, she understands that most of the students’ concerns are to get a job and to create opportunities for success. “This is my first semester as a coordinator of the CAPP program, and I am very honored to have been invited to do so. It makes me happy to be a part of CAPP because I can see first-hand a group of students that are unafraid to step out of their comfort zone to prepare themselves for the workforce. CAPP is a great program that I hope students will continue to benefit from!”
Five Towns College students Emma Umansky and Joey Miller are a part of CAPP this semester. Both are enjoying the program and gaining more knowledge about career skills. “I really like being a part of CAPP, it’s answered a lot of my questions,” said Umansky. Miller has learned what the real world will be like through CAPP. “I really like being part of CAPP because it’s taught me things about how the working world works, which I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. CAPP has taught me how to present myself in the best way for when I start applying to jobs in the future,” she explained.
O’Rourke reflected on the success and growth of the program, “I am proud that these students are volunteering to be in the program. They are taking a positive and serious look at their career directives. We have new ideas and enthusiasm to make it grow, and I would love this program to be available to all students as part of their curriculum.”