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Strong Corporate-Campus Relationship Leads to New Peer to Career Support Center at UCM

By Jeff Murphy, November 21, 2019

Peer to Career Center
Carson Hertzler, left, a student peer advisor, lends assistance to University of Central Missouri student Maria Sanchez during a visit to the new Peer to Career Support Center in Career Services. The new room was made possible by a gift to the UCM Foundation from Waterway Carwash, a company that recruits university graduates who seek business operations and management experience.

WARRENSBURG, MO – The positive relationships that Career Services staff have built with employers who visit campus not only leads to jobs and internships for students, but most recently resulted in a corporate gift making possible a new collaborative space to aid University of Central Missouri students in the career-building process.

Called the Peer to Career Support Center, the new space is situated near the library area in the Career Center, located in Ward Edwards Building, Room 1200. It is being funded with a $15,000 gift provided by Waterway Carwash, a business headquartered in St. Louis, which has sites located in major cities throughout the Midwest.

Joni Porter, Coordinator for Employee Relations in the Career Services Center,  said Waterway Carwash has a great managerial program, and company representatives participated in UCM Career Expos during the fall and spring of the 2018-2019 academic year. They also conducted resume reviews prior to the expos.

“They have a philosophy similar to ours, and we had a great chemistry, right off the bat,” Porter said.

After sharing with Waterway representatives a need for an area that benefit students who visit the Career Center, the company offered to contribute $15,000 to the cost of renovating in an interior section of the center to be used for meeting, job search and recruiting, or simply as a place to study or relax.

Porter said the space includes computer stations and desks that can be used separately or pulled together, allowing individuals to work by themselves or as a group. She stressed the goal was to create a place with a positive vibe where students would feel comfortable, and would also be close to peer advisors who could answer their questions. It’s also a great place to connect with potential employers.

“A lot of times, employers want to meet with a small group of students, so they will have a space for that,” Porter said.

Amber Goreham, director of Career Services, added, “Currently, the space is being used by our peer advisors as they are meeting one on one with students on questions regarding Handshake, resume/cover letter help, or the various required class assignments that the different academic programs have their students participate in. When the peer advisors aren't meeting with students they are utilizing the space to work on the various projects they have been assigned or they are preparing to get activities/grading done for the career readiness course in which they serve as teaching assistants.”

Asked about Waterway’s desire to help UCM create the Peer to Career Center, Kevin Cantrell, recruiting and local marketing manager for Waterway Carwash, said, “Why UCM? Well, a few years back, we decided to look at which colleges our managers were consistently coming from and the University of Central Missouri was one of about 20 schools on that list. I visited each of those schools to see which ones made sense for us to ‘do more’ with. In the end, the most impressive school of the group was definitely UCM. The Career Services department is highly engaged with the students and there are a number of ways for Waterway to get involved on campus each year. We’ve already helped several students with their resumes and interview skills and I was happy to do a few presentations for a Career Readiness class. We are stoked about the present, and future, of our UCM partnership.”

“We are extremely proud of our ‘Learn to Lead’ Manager Training Program and we can’t wait to tell UCM students all about it in the Peer to Career Support Center. We need recent college graduates to join our program every year,” Cantrell said. “It’s the perfect place for people at the beginning of their careers who are looking to get a massive amount of business operations and people management experience. Every rank of the program is a checklist so it’s highly structured. Our managers are always setting goals for themselves and they always know exactly what they need to do to get promoted.”

The gift benefiting Career Services was made through the UCM Foundation.


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