Students Explore Careers in Nonprofit and Public Service Sectors

Career Development Trek Brings Students to Billings Forge, Hartford Public Library, and More

Hartford, CT, January 23, 2015 – Many Trinity students enter the workforce with a desire to give back to their communities, but don’t always know the variety of shapes that a public service career can take. Recently, Trinity students spent a day meeting with people working in Hartford-area nonprofit and public service organizations to discuss their career options and what it means to give back.

The trek through Hartford, offered by Trinity’s Career Development Center, began at Billings Forge Community Works, which promotes access to healthy food, engaging youth, and developing employment opportunities and economically sustainable social enterprises in the Frog Hollow Community. There, Executive Director Cary Wheaton discussed the organization’s mission and the challenges associated with working in the nonprofit sector. The students toured the grounds, which include the Kitchen at Billings Forge, Hartford’s only year-round farmer’s market, and the award-winning farm-to-table restaurant Firebox. The various facilities at Billings Forge contribute to the organization’s efforts to increase employment in the Frog Hollow neighborhood and provide job-training services to the formerly incarcerated and long-term unemployed.

“The Career Development Center is at the forefront of Trinity’s effort to build and sustain relationships with the greater Hartford community,” said J. Violet Gannon, director of career development.  “Events like this trek enable students to see firsthand the many opportunities for engagement in our capital city.  At the same time, they provide a forum to showcase the diverse talents of our students to industry leaders.”

Later, the group visited reSET Social Enterprise Trust, a non-profit organization promoting the social enterprise model of entrepreneurship that values both profit and social impact; Corporation for Independent Living, an organization that supports and manages real estate development for housing and non-profit office space; and Foodshare, a food bank that serves 128,000 people in Hartford and Tolland Counties, including one out of every five children in the region. The trek ended at the Hartford Public Library, where Trinity alumna Donna Haghighat ’89, the library’s chief development officer, led a tour and Q&A session with some of the library’s senior staff.

Following the Q&A session, the trek came full circle. Students enjoyed a networking reception catered by the Kitchen at Hartford Public Library, one of the job-training sites managed by Billings Forge Community Works. They were also joined by almost two dozen Trinity alumni in a career development reception to discuss their potential career paths and the options available to them.

“Before this, I didn't know that nonprofits could stretch across a wide range of industries,” said Hang Yang ’16, an engineering and mathematics major who participated in the trek. “The people we met with reported that they felt what they do every day matters to the community. I think a career in nonprofits would definitely be an option for students of all majors.”

 Photos by John Atashian. More photos available here.