Westfield State conference helps students prepare for the work force

Nearly 50 students came back to campus less than a week before the beginning of the spring semester to attend the Aspire 2020 conference. (Photo by Peter Currier)

WESTFIELD- Nearly 50 Westfield State University (WSU) students returned to campus from winter break Jan. 15 for a three-day conference on how to best prepare themselves to quickly join the workforce after graduation.

The Aspire 2020 Career Readiness Conference gave WSU sophomores, juniors, and seniors the chance to engage with alumni and faculty with ways to prepare themselves to succeed after their academic careers are complete. 

The conference features workshops and panels that highlight different aspects of success in starting one’s career as an employee. The titles and focus of some of the panels and workshops include “Presenting your best self,” and “What does the world need you to be?”

“That is a really deep question. That is a really deep theme,” said WSU President Ramon S. Torrecilha in his opening remarks in Scanlon Hall, “But the flip side of that question is also what you want to be in the world. So you have some power in defining your position in the world just the labor force and the labor market will be asking you to behave and present in a certain way.”

Torrecilha asked the group of students what they thought college would be about before they arrived on campus for the first time. One student in the crowd said he saw college as the final step before  figuring out exactly what they want to do. He added that it did just that for him, as he had decided against his original career path and changed his major.

WSU President Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha gives opening remarks to the students who attended the Aspire 2020 conference. Photo by Peter Currier)

Torrecilha said that one of the keys for the students to best present themselves is to take in the environment that they are in so that they can highlight the qualities they have that mesh best with said environment. 

“This is a transition that will take place probably as soon as you leave Westfield, but will continue to evolve as you figure out your place in the world and your place in the job market,” said Torrecilha.

On Thursday, the conference featured a workshop focused on personal branding, as well as a panel of local employers who gave their best advice on how to succeed. 

The final day on Friday will give the students an opportunity to practice their job interview skills. Each student who attended the conference will also be allowed to take an exclusive course called Career Spots, a software that gives lessons on how to conduct a good job interview, personal branding, and networking. 

The Conference was coordinated by Junior Delgado, director of the University’s Career Center, and Enrique Morales-Diaz, Ph.D., dean of faculty and professor of language and culture studies.

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