Starting this year, the Office of Career Strategy will double the funding it provides to seniors for traveling to art auditions and job interviews for nonprofit organizations or government agencies. The maximum reimbursement amount will increase from $100 to $200.
The travel reimbursement program, which was implemented in 2014, is designed “to support students pursuing careers in the nonprofit, government and the arts sectors,” according to the OCS website. Students are required to present receipts, provide proof of the interview and fill out a brief survey before they can be reimbursed, according to Robyn Acampora, the director of strategic initiatives and public service careers at OCS. OCS Director Jeanine Dames said that the office increased the funding because last year, only 25 students took advantage of the program. Acampora speculated that students may not have wanted to spend the time going through the process for relatively little reimbursement.
“Our hope is that interview travel costs never stand between a student and an amazing opportunity, which is why we are so pleased to raise the amount to a maximum of $200 per Yale College senior starting this year,” Dames told the News.
Acampora said that the program saw its highest number of participants in the class of 2017 — but even then, only 50 students asked for reimbursement.
Dames explained that she and Acampora modeled the program after a similar program at the Yale Law School. Both Dames and Acampora worked at the Law School prior to transferring to OCS.
“We saw over the years, working [at the Law School], sometimes just traveling for the interview — that cost — could be the difference between someone taking the interview and someone not taking the interview,” said Dames. “We wanted to create something similar because we thought this was probably happening with the undergrads also.”
Dames explained that the money for reimbursements comes from “a few donors”; a donation from the Yale Club of New York City; and a continuous stream of income from employers who pay to post job opportunities on OCS’ job website. Dames said that the office asks for-profit employers to pay a $25 posting fee. She added that this money goes “right back” into the reimbursement fund.
Acampora explained that this program “helps level the playing field” between for-profit and nonprofit companies. Nonprofit companies often cannot come to on-campus recruiting events and cannot afford to reimburse student travel costs — something many for-profit companies frequently do.
Alumni who have already used the program told the News that it helped them in their respective job searches.
“The travel reimbursement program was essential to my postgrad job search,” said Nick Stewart ’18. “Through it, I was able to travel to California in order to interview for a position for which I ultimately received a job offer [that I] considered seriously.”
He added that by visiting the employer instead of just interviewing via Skype or a phone call, he “gained a deep sense of what working there would entail.”
Hong Bui ’18, whose on-site interview was required, said that the program was “incredibly helpful in providing the means to attend that interview.”
“The job search alone was already stressful, so I am grateful that part of my travel was reimbursed,” she continued. “The process to request the fund and get reimbursed was very straightforward, so I would encourage others to take advantage of the program!”
Dames assumed the role of director of the Office of Career Strategy in 2013.
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