Work Experience Program taps off-campus partnerships 

Work for Web

Career- and life-building work opportunities are growing exponentially for Berry students thanks to the expanding network of Berry’s Community and Industry Work Program.

In the 2014-15 academic year, approximately 150 students worked with 25 community and area employers as part of the college’s Work Experience Program. These diverse partners included Georgia Power, Harbin Clinic, the Open Door Home and International Paper.

“We want to augment Berry’s work program with opportunities we can’t offer on campus,” explained program director Mark Kozera (79C). “And we are intentionally partnering with quality employers to make sure our students have a good work experience.”

For recent graduate Jack Chase, the program provided the opportunity to build his resumé working alongside Andrea Owens Pitts (93C), director of marketing and public relations at Redmond Regional Medical Center. This role opened the door to an impressive array of experiences, including full ownership of both a monthly employee newsletter and a monthly video podcast featuring Redmond CEO John Quinlivan.

“The job taught me so much that I couldn’t experience from inside a classroom,” said Chase, also men’s lacrosse captain and Berry’s 2014-15 Male Student-Athlete of the Year. “It helped me confirm that I would like to pursue a career in marketing strategy.”

Though program participants work off campus, they are paid by Berry and evaluated using the same core values of ownership, personal motivation, service attitude and trustworthiness emphasized in a traditional on-campus position. Employers reimburse the college for students’ wages, helping to offset the budget of the Work Experience Program at a time when participation is at an all-time high.

“It’s an extension and an enhancement of a Berry job,” said Dean of Student Work Rufus Massey (75C), noting that virtual technology will allow the program to grow regionally in the years to come as students work for “companies anywhere” right from the Berry campus.