Emory Report

March 16, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 24

HR career counseling program a resource for employees

Everyone has moments when they feel stuck in their job or feel they're not living up to their fullest potential. But people at Emory who begin to feel that way can turn to Human Resources' recently revived Career Development Program for help.

Dormant for nearly a year, the program got underway again recently under counselor Rhonda Martin. Serving a practicum here while she completes her doctorate in counseling psychology at Georgia State, Martin spends her Tuesday and Friday afternoons on Emory's campus helping employees who may have questions about themselves, their careers or both.

The program is open to anyone in the University community: full or part-time staff and faculty. It offers assistance to employees at any career stage and at any point in thinking about a possible job change. Martin said she starts with a needs assessment to determine exactly how the program can help a particular employee. That's followed by interest and personality inventories to determine what kind of job is a fit, and then Martin moves to applied job search skills like resume writing and interview techniques.

"I see my job as giving [employees] the tools to help themselves," Martin said, "to help them understand their interests, their values, their goals, their needs and to help them identify resources that can be of assistance. If someone says, 'I really would like to be an accountant, but I don't know much about it,' that's where my job comes in. I can give them tools to help them learn."

Kym Harris, Emory training manager, said the program fills a need in the Emory community, and while she admitted it may be due to the fact the program was not available for a year, it has already served more than 20 clients in two months of operation. All visits, Harris stressed, are strictly confidential, and clients' supervisors are not informed in any way, nor are records of appointments or information generated by them kept in employees' personnel files.

Harris added that the program is in a pilot phase while she and Martin explore the extent and exact nature of services needed by the Emory community.

One aspect Martin wants to stress is the connect between career development and the GED and basic education classes offered by Human Resources. "Once [employees] get their GEDs, once they improve their literacy skills, then what is their next step?" Martin said. "That's where we can help.

"But it's broader than that," she continued. "The Career Development Program is for anybody at any stage in their career-you don't have to be a certain employee or be in a certain position. Anyone can come in and benefit from this, even someone who is happy in their job and pretty sure of what they want to do. Sometimes it's a really good validation: 'Yeah, I'm on the right track; this is a good fit for me.'"

Martin said there's already been a good deal of interest in resume writing workshops being conducted in March and May, and she's also planning a stress management workshop for April. She emphasized that her role is to help each employee establish an effective career development plan-t is then up to the employee to put the plan in motion.

Anyone interested in the center or its workshops can contact Martin at 404-727-7023 or via e-mail at rhonda@atlas.hr.emory.edu.

-Michael Terrazas

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