WMU News

KPS named Employer of the Year

June 8, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The Kalamazoo Public Schools has been recognized as Employer of the Year for 1998-1999 by Western Michigan University.

Career and Student Employment Services, part of the Division of Student Affairs, selects one employer for the honor each academic year. Recipients are selected based on their year-long contributions and commitment to furthering WMU students' career development and professional growth.

"KPS has been instrumental both in preparing WMU students to teach and in hiring them after graduation," says Lynn Kelly-Albertson, director of Career and Student Employment Services.

The school system has actively recruited on campus for the past 11 years during Teacher Placement Day, Kelly-Albertson notes, and for several years has played a key role in numerous University/community partnerships.

She says one of the most far-reaching partnerships is an internship program that allows students to teach and manage a classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher.

"WMU students who want to teach are required to complete the internship as a capstone experience," Kelly-Albertson notes. "Since 1996, about one-third of all our education interns have been serving in the Kalamazoo Public Schools."

KPS teachers and administrators also have consistently helped students make the transition from an academic career to a professional career, she says. For example, many KPS staff members serve on informational panels that share information about a variety of employment topics, including experiential learning opportunities, portfolio preparation and career opportunities in education.

Other transition assistance is provided through hands-on programs such as practice interviewing and job shadowing.

The former program allows education interns to experience a simulated job interview and receive feedback so they can strengthen their interviewing skills. The latter program allows students to spend time with education professionals so they can observe real-life situations that they will encounter in their chosen field.

"The dedication to providing career and employment assistance that KPS administrators and staff members show is remarkable," Kelly-Albertson says. "As a result, WMU students have gained valuable skills and experiences that will serve them, and those they teach, well into the future."

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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