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New organization provides networking for young professionals

Sarah Long, Contributor
May 8, 2013
Filed under Life

Hundreds of UW-Green Bay students will walk into the Kress Events Center undergraduates and leave as graduates May 18. Although headed into the workforce, many soon-to-be graduates lack the skills and resources necessary to gain employment quickly. While searching online job postings and becoming a member on LinkedIn may be good ideas for finding employment, there may be another way to open up opportunities as well.

Current Young Professionals, a network created in order to recruit and engage young talent in Green Bay, offers numerous opportunities for people ages 21 to 40. According to Chad Heath, chair of Current’s steering committee, the network can be a valuable resource for students looking to make connections in the business world.

Heath said professional development and networking are just a few benefits of joining Current. Many members also gain lifelong friendships through the social events Current hosts.

“The easiest thing to do in order to get jobs is make friends with people,” Heath said.

Brian Johnson, program manager for Current, agrees.

Johnson said being part of this network is beneficial for all UWGB students because networking leads to jobs, and that’s what Current is all about. According to him, 70 to 80 percent of all jobs are never posted online.

This poses a problem to job seekers. Since many jobs are filled by referrals, even the best resume can be no match for a recommendation from someone with close ties to the company.

With such a high number of jobs never being made available to the public, Johnson stresses the value of networking. With that many jobs being filled by referrals, it is important to gain these referrals by making business contacts.

With almost 1,100 members, Current creates chances to network with local professionals.

Members range from college students to lawyers, company presidents and CEOs. Johnson said becoming a member of Current allows access to people who may otherwise seem inaccessible.

Current organizes events that allow members to interact with one another. One of Current’s most important events, according to Heath, will be the new member orientation. While it’s still developing, this new activity will help new members become familiarized with the organization. Heath said the orientation program, along with the new ambassador program, which is designed around people who are socially engaging, will help new members feel welcome.

Other events Current hosts are structured to be professional. Heath said such events help teach attendees how to develop a personal brand and how to be a good leader.

Current also holds group activities, bringing members with similar interests together. Interest groups include arts, sports and sustainability, among others. Group activities help promote social interaction. They are meant to foster personal friendships.

Heath said Current is also developing a mentorship program. In this program, members within certain interest areas will be matched with an appropriate mentor. While this mentor is not meant to hand out jobs, he or she is will teach mentees how to better themselves for their field of interest.

While attending events is not mandatory for Current members, Johnson said the events are beneficial. The organization is there to serve members and help young professionals gain business contacts. Ultimately, though, the level of involvement is up to the individual.

“You’re going to get out of it what you want to get out of it,” Johnson said.

Heath said that members gain a vast amount of overall life skills. During his years in the organization, he has learned how easy it is to give to the community and how much comes back to him in return.

“If you’re sincere about it, it’s going to come back to you,” he said.

Current is free to join for young adults who are not employed full time. That means UWGB students can join and not pay dues until they hold a full-time job. Johnson said many employers will subsidize dues as well.

Each event has a fee associated with it. Johnson said fees cover event expenses. Business casual dress is recommended for events.

For more information about Current, visit greenbaycurrent.org.

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