Suffolk University has announced that it will open one of Boston’s “most accessible and visible career development centers,” with the planned early October opening of its Center for Career Equity, Development & Success in the former Citizens Bank location at the bustling corner of Tremont and Beacon streets, according to a press release.
Suffolk will take over the first-floor space that had been occupied by Citizens at 73 Tremont St., home to the University’s Rosalie K. Stahl Center, where many administrative offices and student services are based. The front-facing location is steps away from the city’s top employers and in the heart of Suffolk’s downtown campus.
With its new location, the Center for Career Equity, Development & Success will be a vibrant hub for career planning, advising, networking, and interviewing for Suffolk students, as well as alumni and hundreds of local employer partners. The nearly 4,000-square-foot storefront space will support not only Suffolk students, but the talent needs of local companies, nonprofits, and financial district businesses.
A key goal is to foster career equity within Suffolk’s community—and by extension, employers in greater Boston—by bringing career services front and center so that they will be vigorously used, especially by students historically underserved by university career centers. According to research from Gallup, nearly 40% of students nationally never visit their career center or receive career services during their time as undergraduates. Gallup’s oft-cited 2017 study found that career counseling is particularly underutilized by first-generation college students and students of color, despite the positive impact these services have on their professional success.
Bringing the center from a less visible upper floor at 73 Tremont to the highly trafficked street level, right on Boston’s Freedom Trail and steps away from its centers of government, finance, retail, and cultural attractions, is more than just a logistical move, said Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly.
“The opening of this highly visible location marks the latest step in our ongoing efforts to foster career equity within the Suffolk community and beyond,” Kelly said in a press release. “We are excited to reduce the number of steps, both literally and figuratively, between a Suffolk University student’s first day on campus and the first day of their professional pursuits, whatever they may be.”
Suffolk’s integrated career education curriculum focuses on equity and inclusion with the same intensity as traditional skills like building a professional network, writing a solid résumé, or preparing for an interview. Students evaluate how their own identities will impact their careers, and how they can create more equity and opportunity for people who have been historically marginalized. In addition to researching companies and career paths, Suffolk students also evaluate those organizations’ commitment to promoting, supporting, and retaining diverse candidates.
“Our students enter the workforce well-prepared, with a perspective that has the potential to transform workplaces and industries. This center is designed to make that critical career preparation easier to access,” Kelly said in a press release.
The new center will feature large, communal workspaces where students can connect with one another and members of the career services team, or just relax between classes. Students, alumni, and affiliated employers can take advantage of office spaces to network, interview, and hold events. The center will also be home to an expanded Career Closet, where students can pick out lightly used professional clothing donated by faculty, staff, and local businesses for interviews and networking events. And there will be plenty of coffee. “Coffee is the new pizza,” said Dave Merry, associate provost and executive director of the Center for Career Equity, Development & Success.
“We call this new space our ‘come-on-in space,’” Merry said, in a press release adding that career centers have traditionally been seen as places for students to come only when they need to write a résumé or research an internship or job opportunity. The Center for Career Equity, Development & Success also helps students and alumni identify life goals, build professional networks of mentors and colleagues, improve future job prospects, adapt to changing career dynamics, remain connected to the University, and so much more, Merry said.
“This new space is an important step forward in our effort to be a leader in building career readiness into every aspect of a Suffolk education, from the classroom to leadership involvement, service, internships, and more,” Merry said in a press release. “We want our students to know that they have the support, resources, and skills that they need to take the next steps in their career paths and to be in control of that lifelong journey.”
Alumni, Merry said, will be welcomed for training in new technologies and other skill-building opportunities. The career center will increasingly focus on offering opportunities for certificates, credentials, badges, and skills development for students and alumni, even for those who left school decades earlier.
The center’s prominent location will make it easily accessible to local recruiters and employers, Merry pointed out: “Our partners can pop by on their lunch break to quickly post a job or to network with our students.”
An estimated 61 percent of Suffolk graduates work or continue their education in Greater Boston, with 47 percent of that group reporting that they work in and around the city. The top five employers of Suffolk alumni are Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners Healthcare), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State Street, Fidelity Investments, and Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Merry said the center will evolve in the coming years, just as the needs of the workplace have. “Career readiness is a continuous path. The world is changing rapidly, and we are determined to ensure graduates are ready for whatever comes next,” he said in a press release.