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DIANE BUBB

A new program at Keystone College this year seeks to promote career readiness.

Through the Keystone College Mentoring Initiative, students could connect with local community mentors from a variety of backgrounds.

“This could be activities such as advice about internships, careers, business practices, networking opportunities and even resume and interviewing recommendations,” explained Keystone College Workforce Outreach Coordinator Diane Bubb.

With a kickoff expected soon, Bubb already has a group of mentors who have signed up to be paired with selected student mentees.

“The mentors range from individuals who are recent college graduates to retired professionals, people who hold executive positions, people who work in law enforcement, people who work in the federal government,” Bubb said. “It’s a really nice mix of mentors and they’re all from the local area. Two of the mentors are alumni of Keystone.”

The mentees, who range from freshmen to seniors, also come from a variety of majors, including sports and recreation management, information technology, forensic biology, communications, psychology, criminal justice and business.

“Students would receive the perspective of an objective professional,” Bubb said. “The other thing that the initiative can accomplish is to work with students to help them better define their career goals.”

Overall, Bubb sees the initiative increasing students’ knowledge of the “world of work” and building their self-confidence with networking and navigating work-related situations.

“It’s very difficult to network and that’s a skill that needs to be practiced,” she said. “In order to effectively network, it’s important to be introduced to people in someone else’s network and start that process.”

After students meet their mentors, Bubb has activities planned, but the pairs could also get together as often as they deem necessary.

“We want the mentees to be able to experience and benefit from the professional expertise of the mentors and we want to create a situation where the mentors are in a position where they could give back,” she said.

Keystone College President Dr. Tracy Brundage originally came up with the idea to bring professionals and students together.

“Our mentoring initiative is one important way we can help prepare students for successful careers after they graduate,” Brundage said. “Students have the opportunity to meet and interact with professionals engaged in the types of jobs they hope to be doing in the coming years.”

These relationships promote personal development for students while expanding their professional knowledge, she said.

“Our mentors also benefit by knowing they’ve helped students advance in their future professions and in their lives,” she added.

Prior to starting at Keystone one year ago, Bubb held a similar role at a college in central Pennsylvania.

“I came to Keystone with a very robust workforce development background,” she said. “One of my goals is to better connect Keystone College students to the business community.”

With Keystone having an array of extracurricular offerings such as athletics and clubs, Bubb hopes the mentoring initiative, which does not give course credit, could be a supplement.

“We hope to grow the initiative, and this really aligns with the fact that Keystone is working to be a college that prepares people for the workplace,” she said.

Those interested in the mentoring initiative could contact Bubb at 570-945-8337 or diane.bubb@keystone.edu. Information is also available on Keystone’s website, keystone.edu/career-development.

This year, the college also began offering online professional certificates through its Professional Development Institute.

Options include project management, operations and IT (agile project management, cyber security, data analytics, six sigma and lean); leadership, management and non-profit (entrepreneurship, human resources, leadership, sustainable management); and professional skills and special topics (business communications, creativity and innovation, digital marketing, finance essentials and LEED Green Associate Exam prep).

“They’re great for someone trying to navigate a career pathway who may already have a degree, but may want to earn a credential along the way, and it’s great for a company that is trying to upskill levels of their workers,” Bubb said.

For more information or to register, visit keystone.edu/continuinged, call 570-945-8461 or email pdi@keystone.edu.