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New career coaching program to support area professionals

UWGB aims to help individuals discover their strengths, explore career interests in an evolving marketplace

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November 30, 2022

GREEN BAY – As a higher education institution, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is known for educating and guiding its students.

However, when a student graduates, access to those career coaching resources end.

That was until now.

Jess Lambrecht, executive officer of the division for Continuing Education and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said the university is now offering career coaching and other services to the broader community of professionals in Northeast Wisconsin – with the goal of helping individuals discover their strengths and explore their career interests in an evolving marketplace.

Recognizing an individual’s career journey evolves over a lifetime, Lambrecht said the university’s coaching services will help adults navigate career-life changes to ensure a rewarding future.

“What often happens in an adult space is they… are one, not certain what they want to do and so then when they connect with an institution, I don’t care if it’s here or anywhere else, they often are talking to an enrollment advisor who is trying to say like, ‘oh, this is the program,” she said. “And while we are careful to never push… I think there is an opportunity for community members to talk to someone who is much more, I’m gonna say unbiased.”

Lambrecht said in her positions in higher education career services, she would often get asked why the services weren’t available to the public.

“In my prior role, and coming here, we frequently get asked, ‘Do you have such a thing?’” she said. “I could do it, but you’re not a student, so technically, I can’t serve you in that way.”

Lambrecht said these conversations prompted her and her team to look at the possibility of offering these types of career coaching opportunities to the greater UWGB community.

“(The coaching is) intentional, focused on helping them navigate (things) – because it’s a complicated web and career professional world we live in and you need someone to help assess and analyze that,” she said.

Lambrecht said sometimes, working professionals can be confused by their circumstances and be unsure what exactly it is they need.

“Maybe it’s a bad environment I’m working in?” she said. “Maybe I have a bad boss. Do I need a new training program? Do I need a certificate? Do I need to simply enhance the skills I have and do a short-term program? Do I need a full-on degree program or a master’s program?”

Lambrecht said a career coach can help guide an individual’s career path and build self-awareness and confidence while ensuring they make thoughtful decisions that will positively impact their future.

She said career coaching services can help individuals figure out where they are “in that space.”

A menu of options
In collaboration with career coach Kristin Odell, UWGB is offering a menu of career coaching services, including:
1:1 Career coaching – a 60-minute one-on-one career-life consultant.Career coaching and assessment – a 60-minute consultation with a review of a Top 5 Strengths assessment.Coaching and in-depth assessment – two 60-minute consultations and an in-depth review of 34 CliftonStrengths results.Resume review and support – a 60-minute resume review and interviewing support.Goal setting – a 60-minute consultation to develop personal and professional goals.1:1 career coaching sessions – three 60-minute one-on-one career-life consultations.
“I think what will be of most interest to individuals is an individual career coaching and assessment,” Lambrecht said. “I think having individuals have a stronger understanding of their own strengths in a one-on-one setting will be of most interest.”

Lambrecht said the university will monitor the program’s offerings and see if changes need to be made down the line.

“We know it’s a challenging time for community members, people in the workforce – they’re pulled in multiple directions,” she said. “And I think it’s important that as a higher education institution, we recognize that and figure out where we align best and where we can support that.”

Jess Lambrecht

She said the university is already in the process of designing through its Women’s Leadership Institute.

“For that executive individual who’s like, ‘I need something ongoing. I need someone to hold me accountable. I need someone who’s going to give me hard feedback. I need someone who is not going to present judgment. I need to work through some of these issues or concerns,’” she said. “So, the hope is that we’re going to be launching here within the next couple of months something that’s a more long-term coaching offering for individuals so they can meet their long-term personal and professional goals.”

The compass
Lambrecht said Odell is a long-time collaborator and instructor with the university and has 20-plus years of experience working in human resource leadership roles focused on employee and leadership development, strengths coaching, hiring and engagement and legal compliance.

“She’s done everything we’re offering – this is her space and her jam, if you will,” she said.

Odell said she is excited to help support and advance individuals in the community exploring the next steps in their careers.
“The current labor market calls for a different mindset, and professionals are juggling more responsibility than ever,” she said. “They are looking for a career catapult and can’t afford any missteps. I can be their compass.”

Lambrecht said she is hopeful the university will be able to add a second and third coach to the program fairly quickly.

“Specifically, a woman of color and a male – so that individuals who would rather relate to someone of a similar background and would feel maybe more comfortable talking with someone who gets it, and gets them,” she said.

Lambrecht said so far, the interest has been high.

“Literally, the day we had it posted, we had a number of inquiries,” she said.

Lambrecht said the program aims to be affordable.

“We’ve tried to make it very affordable,” she said. “This was not intended for us to make a significant profit – just enough to meet our costs.”

Lambrecht said another goal of the program is to bring awareness to many of the unknown opportunities UWGB offers.

“We have so many assets here that I just don’t think people realize, between all of our certificate offerings or training programs, our continuing-ed programs, our membership programs,” she said. “On top of our baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, I don’t think people think of higher ed as anything outside of that space. And so I’m trying to showcase we probably have what you’re looking for, and if we don’t, that’s perfectly fine – we will help you find the best fit for you.”

More information on the UWGB career coaching program can be found online at: uwgb.edu/continuing-education/career/career-coaching.

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