ASU+GSV: Christine Cruzvergara on democratizing access to opportunity

WorkingNation interviews leaders in public, private, and nonprofit spheres attending the ASU+GSV Virtual Summit as part of our #WorkingNationOverheard campaign

When college students are looking for internships these days, many turn to Handshake, a company that has partnered with 500,000 employers and 1,000 colleges and universities to connect 17 million students and alumni.

WorkingNation interviewed Christine Cruzvergara, vice president of higher education and student success of Handshake, for #WorkingNationOverheard as a media partner with ASU+GSV’s Virtual Summit 2020, held September 29 through October 1+October 8. You can watch all of the interviews on our YouTube channel.

Cruzvergara says, virtual recruitment has taken on a new level of importance during the pandemic.

“Employers are really investing in digital capability, digital recruiting, helping to reach more diversified students, people are starting to see the benefits of what can happen when you focus on digital,” said Cruzvergara. “Handshake’s mission has always been about democratizing access to opportunity, so that for a student it doesn’t matter where you go to school or what you major in or who your parents are. And so, our mission, I think, has not only been important from the get-go, it really has been exacerbated by what we’re seeing with the pandemic.”

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, considering, Cruzvergara says, hiring it still slow. Students should use this time to prepare for when more hiring resumes.

“I would encourage students to think about building their skills during this time,” she says. There are so many platforms right now that students can go on for free to be able to take classes and to be able to build on either the skills that they already have and really hone those, or to be able to learn new skills. I would say two skills in particular that we see across every industry and every employer is looking for, one is Excel,” she says. “And the second is data analysis, data science, data management. Again, across every single sector and industry, employers are looking for people who understand data, how to analyze data, how to synthesize it, how to get good learning and nuggets out of that, and how to help propose solutions based on that data.”

Learn more about the Handshake – click here
Learn more about the ASU+GSV Summit – click here
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