Career Services Director Helps Students in Tough Economy

Career Services is located on the third floor of the Marist Library.

Career Services is located on the third floor of the Marist Library.

By: Brendan Sherwood

Stephen Cole, executive director of career services at Marist College is responsible for the career fair and helping students achieve their goals in today’s unstable economy. He has a tough but rewarding job and still finds time for his family and friends.

Cole has worked at Marist College for two years and three months but graduated in 1972. He has had an over 30 year corporate career all over New York State as a PR executive, college recruiter, HR manager, PR manager, and director of innovation projects. He spent most of his career at IBM but has served on numerous boards and committees with Marist executives over the years and has always expressed interest in returning to Marist.

His main responsibilities at Marist College now include overall administration of the Center for Career Services, development of employer relationships, staff management and student advising. When asked if there was anything he didn’t like about his job Cole responded, “Not a thing, I love my job. I love working with Marist students.”

The most important recent event he was in charge of was the career fair on April 2.  “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes for the career fair,” Cole said.  “From recruiting companies to attend to scheduling facilities, contracting for exhibitor materials and displays, preparation of an exhibitor’s book, assuring exhibitors’ needs are met, providing outreach and advertisements to get student attendance, listening to student and exhibitor comments and taking them into consideration for future events to the actual setup and dismantling of the event.”

This year’s career fair was difficult to coordinate because of the economy. Cole said, “This is a very challenging time for companies. Many small colleges have had to curtail their events and I was determined that we would not. We had fewer employers from the last event but we still were able to attract prestigious companies and organizations to campus to meet students. We’ve already started planning for the next event in October 2009.”

Jane Fiore, director of the academic learning center at Marist said, “From the statistics this was a tough year to get employers because of the economy. From what I understand they had a great turnout. The office worked hard for quality and quantity of representatives.

Fiore collaborates with Stephen Cole on “many activities throughout the year,” including orientation for new students in Spring and January. She said Cole has done presentations for students in her programs and programs for transfers in January. He also helps her with the Focus program for freshmen and the majors fair. Fiore described his working style as “organized and professional.” He is “intelligent, funny, very practical, straight to the point, clear and concise.”

“His priority is always the students,” Fiore said.

Cole’s devotion to his job shows in his work. “He has a tough job and he really cares about helping students achieve their dreams,” Fiore said.  “The economy has a tremendous impact on how Steve can execute his job.”

Even with the stresses of helping students find jobs in today’s economy, Cole is able to find time for his family. He lives with his wife and they take “great enjoyment” in their two golden retrievers that they have trained for agility events. In addition, Cole said, “We find great pleasure in our grand daughter and what she does with her equestrian and 4H projects. We also enjoy fly fishing, kayaking, boating and hiking. Most anything outdoor related.”

Jane Fiore said, “I don’t think you can know Steve unless you know he likes dogs.”

Returning to his alma mater, helping students, overcoming obstacles, and still having time for his family have led Cole to believe he will not search for another job. He said, “I found my dream job.”

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