PennWest Employer Relations Strategy-Information for Faculty & Staff

Over the last few months our career center team have been focused on redesigning our processes and procedures to ensure we are being equitable, sustainable, and accessible to ourselves and students. This includes our employer engagement strategy led by Rhonda Gifford.

We are excited to share our new employer engagement strategy for PennWest in the hope that it helps you become more informed and comfortable answering questions or referring to our office.  

The Career Center has evolved from holding career fairs, that have been largely unsuccessful, to a new strategy focused on developing deeper relationships with employers and connecting them with students, alumni and other stakeholders in the following ways: 

  1. Onboarding and maximizing Handshake. Helping them to post jobs and internships and maximize Handshake by learning how to search for and message candidates, find matches for their job postings, set up virtual chats. 
  2. Establishing a presence at PennWest. Coordinating tabling, campus or virtual information sessions, interviews and events. 
  3. Elevating their brand and recruitment strategy. Creating targeted messaging to alert students and alumni to postings, interviews and events; facilitating introductions to faculty, clubs and other stakeholders, using multiple media outlets to highlight hiring organizations (i.e “Who’s Hiring” videos, social media takeovers) 
  4. Providing best practices and data. Writing job/internship postings to attract candidates, internship best practices, DEI, salary benchmarking and other data. 

To put things into perspective, by shifting our focus this semester more than 900 students and alumni and 358 employers attended 309 school and 2,633 employer-hosted virtual events through Handshake, including the AT&T Summer Learning Academy, Virtual Job Fair for Teachers, Google Hash Code, Kraft Heinz Speaker Series and Diversity & Inclusion Webinar. Likewise, our students have access to more than 30,000 local, regional, and national jobs on Handshake.

We are excited about the future and believe these strategies can help make a difference.

Rhonda is proactively reaching out to colleges and departments to learn how we can partner to connect students with internships, jobs, and employers. If you have any ideas or suggestions we are always up for a good brainstorming session! Reach Rhonda and her employer relations staff at

By Nick Amos
Nick Amos