Parents to Parents

Career Development Center Program Offers Parents Tools to Help Students Succeed

Upperclassmen who mentor incoming students are supported by a variety of programs on Yeshiva University’s undergraduate campuses, but parents helping other parents? That is something new. On October 17, YU’s Career Development Center hosted, “Parents to Parents: Employment Trends, Job Readiness and Lessons from the Business World,” in which two current YU parents, Dr. Steve Safier and Dr. Elly Lasson, discussed how parents can effectively assist their undergraduate children to enter the working world.

(From left) YU Parents and presenters, Steve Safier and Elliot Lasson

Lasson is the executive director of Joblink, a nonprofit job placement organization serving the Baltimore, Maryland community and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore. His son Yaakov is in Yeshiva College; his daughter Yaelle is currently enrolled in the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program. Beginning with a “state of the union” on the current job market, Lasson detailed the skills and knowledge that current graduates need to enter today’s challenging environment. Highlighting strategies as simple as preparing short summaries of one’s expertise and experiences and emphasizing one’s preparedness to make adjustments for and to a career, Lasson explained to parents how they can best encourage and assist their children to find and sustain careers. He also opened the floor to a conversation with the parents on appropriate behaviors, dress and interpersonal communications for interviews and the workplace.

Safier spoke more directly to the behavioral aspects of job searching and ongoing career development and listed “Five Things Parents Can Do to Help Their Children Get Jobs.” Safier’s son Yehuda is in Yeshiva College; his daughter Michal is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Formerly a chief operating officer within the SUBWAY Sandwich company, Safier is now CEO at Of Both Worlds, a coaching business he founded to help college students and recent graduates find their first jobs. Noting that one’s behavior directly affects one’s employment opportunities and experiences, Safier said that self-image, personality and bearing are important differentiators of entry-level employees who have similar technical skills. In addition to a student’s education, he said, students must develop, and parents can assist in developing, five critical skills: reading comprehension, writing, presence, responsiveness and the ability to network — both to get interviews and to succeed in their jobs. Safier advised the parents on how to help their children and also asked the parents for some of their own ideas, which they were happy to share.

Marc Goldman, executive director of the Career Development Center, said the event developed because he separately came into contact with both speakers and wanted to think of a creative way to allow them to jointly share their enthusiasm with others. The information they offered was “very useful” said Goldman, who was glad to see “much of what they said was in sync with what we already do here.” The speakers had “a balance between knowledge about both the job market and the specific community that really engaged the audience, who obviously are invested in their children’s successes.”

Reaction to the event from the parents was equally positive. Will Schwartz, parent of a Stern College for Women freshman, said that he “enjoyed the event, which provided practical advice for both parents and students. The tips and advice were helpful, as in today’s tough environment any leg up can be a step in the right direction.”

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