Career Services explores inclusion at work

Payton Bucki, Campus Reporter

On Feb. 15, Oakland University Career Services hosted a networking mixer event focusing on inclusivity in the workplace in the Oakland Center Habitat. During the event, representatives from various local businesses spoke to students about company culture, employee resource groups, passion for breaking inclusion barriers, support and accommodations.

Upon arrival, attendees were welcomed to the event by representatives from Career Services, and name tags were provided for students to write down their names and majors. Icebreaker question cards were also made available to aid students while conversing with employers.

Once checked in, students were invited to the downstairs area of the Habitat. Various employers — including representatives from Ally Financial Inc., Corewell Health and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services — mingled about the room, eager to engage with students.

“For this event, we invited representatives from some of Oakland University’s most valued employers to speak to students directly and authentically,” Career Services Director Kelly Dorner said.

Students were encouraged to speak with employers about a variety of topics related to inclusion in the workplace. Industry representatives spoke about their experiences and workplace culture readily to students.

“We focus on the topic of inclusion for this mixer event because diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are important values at Oakland University and in the workplace,” Ian Caullay, the director of employer relations for the School of Business, said. “It is important to recognize that there are many dimensions to diversity, such as race, gender, ability and working styles.”

The Exploring Inclusion in the Workplace Mixer is not a new event at Oakland University; in fact, the event began in 2019 and has recurred yearly ever since. 

“I think the reason our mixer event has returned year after year is that Career Services believes passionately that every student deserves the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about employment in a non-intimidating environment,” Dorner said. “It is crucial that students are able to feel like their personal values align with the company culture before taking a long-term job offer.”

Throughout the duration of the mixer, students were able to gain valuable insight into the ways employers practice inclusivity in the workplace and support a diverse workforce.

“At Career Services, we can provide students with information regarding DEI in different industries,” Dorner said. “However, students are typically more interested in hearing from the employers themselves, which makes this event such an amazing resource.”

For the remainder of the winter semester, Career Services has many events planned. 

One such event is Mocktail Networking Night on April 11, in partnership with the OU Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The mixer will take place in Founders Ballroom A of the Oakland Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and allow students to engage in conversation with Metro Detroit-based PR and communication professionals.

To find out more information about Career Services’ upcoming events, students can visit their GrizzOrgs page. Those who are interested in utilizing support services available through Career Services can email a representative at [email protected] for assistance.