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Modernizing CEPA’s approach to supporting ACS members in their professional lives

by Tiffany Hoerter, Chair, ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs
July 29, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 31

 

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Credit: Boston Creative Headshots
Tiffany Hoerter

The Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs (CEPA) works with ACS Career Services to support American Chemical Society members in their professional lives. CEPA, ACS staff, ACS members, and other stakeholders are focused on working together to deliver on the following strategic goals:

Identify, support, deliver, and evaluate programs relevant to economic and professional affairs.

Improve, update, develop, curate, and disseminate relevant policies and codes of conduct.

Recommend, develop, and evaluate critical resources and services to support member careers.

The job market for careers in chemistry is dynamic, and potential career paths for ACS members are constantly evolving. Armed with this knowledge, CEPA is continuing to modernize our career services on behalf of our membership. During the past year, we have focused on evaluating the career offerings supported by our committee. ACS career workshops, the ACS Career Fair, and the ACS Career Consultant Program are undergoing review and revitalization.

ACS career workshops

The CEPA Subcommittee on Events, Volunteers & Employment Services, led by Dana Ferraris, established rubrics and review cycles for the ACS career workshops to ensure they are effectively delivering education and resources to our members. This collaborative process has allowed workshop presenters, ACS members, ACS governance, and ACS staff to share knowledge and best practices and incorporate participant feedback, delivering ever stronger and more relevant content to our members.

The job market for careers in chemistry is dynamic, and potential career paths for ACS members are constantly evolving.

ACS Career Fair

Despite significant updates and modernization efforts, the ACS national meeting career fair continues to see declining employer participation. Additionally, only 10–12% of members typically attend ACS national meetings and would have an opportunity to participate in such career fairs. To meet the needs of more of our members and increase the member-to-employer ratio, ACS jump-started a pilot local career fair tour to meet more members, connect with local employers, and expand the career fair beyond the national meeting. Trial events are being hosted in Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Augusta, Ga. These local career fairs will embody features of the national meeting career fair, including career pathway workshops, career consulting, and on-site interviews by participating employers with open positions. In partnership with the local ACS sections, these fairs aim to become a viable resource for those who are looking to start their career, make a career change, or find a new opportunity after a layoff. Through these efforts, CEPA will build stronger relationships with employers to help understand their needs and connect them with ACS members.

ACS Career Consultant Program

The ACS Career Consultant Program is also working to better serve members outside the national meeting. The online Career Consultant Program offers personalized consulting to assist members with résumé preparation, job search strategies, interviewing techniques, career transitions, and more. We have a dedicated core team of consultants representing industry, academia, government, entrepreneurship, small business, human resources, and many other career functions; however, we continue to seek additional consultants to serve the dynamic career needs of our members, both domestically and internationally. Technology upgrades are in progress and will enable members to connect with consultants using their smartphones, with live streaming videos and other electronic resources, anytime and anywhere.

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Your voice is important

Whether you are a student, a young professional, a midcareer chemist, or a person nearing retirement, starting a new career path, or facing unemployment, CEPA’s vision is that you have a fulfilling professional life. We strive to provide programs, products, and services to help you achieve your career needs and goals. Using our strategic goals and initiatives, we are working to continuously improve and modernize our efforts to address the diverse and dynamic chemical employment landscape. Please share your thoughts or questions about ACS Career Services offerings via email to careers@acs.org.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.

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