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Network Kinection Supports Student and Employer Success Feature Story
By developing and deepening relationships between regional employers, students, and faculty, Network Kinection is making the job-hunting process easier and more efficient for Orange County’s community college career education students.
Earlier this year, Network Kinection, a job and internship placement company that works with college students & employers to connect job seekers in various programs with the careers they desire, started working with Orange County community college automotive and advanced manufacturing programs through funding from a Strong Workforce grant.
“It’s a personal, career-coached, customer service-oriented placement process,” says Erick Briggs, CEO of Network Kinection. “We are always talking with our students and talking with our employers.”
Briggs says his company makes more than 50 class visits each semester letting students know what they have to offer and encouraging faculty members to notify them about qualified students looking for a job.
“We make a promise to the students that within two to three business days, we will be in touch,” Briggs says. “This is not a process where we say, ‘Here’s my business card. We’ll find you later.’”
On the employer side, Network Kinection partners with dozens of companies in Orange County to let them know about community college students who are potential employees. Some of the automotive and manufacturing companies they’re working with include Toyota, Honda, Ford, Tesla, Chevrolet, Applied Medical, Raytheon, GKN Aerospace, and Hydroflow.
One thing that makes Network Kinection special is that by building relationships with employers, Network Kinection is aware of job openings even before they are posted. This not only helps students, but also employers because at the same time they know of students who can fill those jobs.
“If Tesla says they need workers, we already have students who want to work for Tesla,” he says.
Briggs says his company often makes 30 to 50 outreach calls to employers each day to let them know that community college students are available to fill vacant positions.
“Employers still don’t know that the community colleges can solve their entry-level workforce needs,” says Briggs.
Network Kinection also keeps track of their contacts with students in the program to let their colleges know whether students are continuing to be responsive and available for employment.
“We can show every step of the way of why students are working with us,” Briggs says.
Briggs says he started the company a decade ago after his own experience trying to land an internship while he was a student at Cal Poly Pomona. He worked at the college career center and contacted employers to develop connections with the university for student internships. Although he got internship offers himself, his dream job was an internship with the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.
Knowing that the Angels’ internship selection would be highly competitive, Briggs found a way to make himself stand out. He bought a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, taped his resume and application to the inside of the box, and took the box to the Angels office. They were so impressed that he got a chance to meet the Angels’ Human Relations director and ended up getting the internship.
“I lived out this dream,” Briggs says of the internship. “It was the most incredible year. I loved it.”
But when he returned to Cal Poly Pomona after his internship ended, he found that his friends couldn’t line up jobs. He began making presentations at the university about getting work experience and this process eventually evolved into what is now Network Kinection.
Fullerton College student Richard Tallase is just one example of the many students who have been helped by Network Kinection’s services. Tallase, a manufacturing technology student, heard a presentation by a Network Kinection representative in one of his classes and filled out a form with his skills and the job he was seeking.
“I needed help with an interview and creating a resume,” says Tallase. “I was asking for a lot of help and they provided it.”
Tallase was particularly interested in working at Pro-Tech Knives in Placentia, so Kenya Williams from Network Kinection contacted the company. Tallase was hired and began working at Pro-Tech in April.
“They definitely did a lot,” said Tallase. “It was a team effort.”
Briggs says many community college students need help starting their careers, from creating resumes and honing their interview skills to the myriad of questions that have about the job-hunting process.
“Students need help understanding the job market,” says Briggs. “We can’t just send the student a link to a job and hope for the best. We need to help them out beforehand.”
To learn more about the many career education programs and support services offered by Orange County’s community colleges, visit https://futurebuilt.org/.