African American male undergraduate and alumni perceptions, understandings and utilizations of career center resources in improving internships and full-time job opportunities.


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African American undergraduate males are not utilizing the career center as a resource for internships and full-time job opportunities. Jacobson et al. (2017) suggest career centers are essential in preparing students for future employment and career growth. Career centers on college campuses activate the gap between skill attainment and matching undergraduate talent to professional employment opportunities. African American students do not utilize the career center benefit until it is too late (Parker, 1995). Failing to utilize the career center can equate to fewer opportunities and falling behind peers seeking professional internships and full-time experiences pre- and post- graduation (Cruzvergara et al., 2018). I used a qualitative descriptive multiple case study approach to conduct this research. The data collection originated from two cases and nine participants. Case 1 participants were four current undergraduate African American male students. Case 2 participants were five alumni African American male students. The theoretical framework informing this study was African American male theory (AAMT; Bush & Bush, 2013). AAMT examined the historic social disparity within the African American male experience that ultimately originates an undesirable ripple effect in the communities of learning, culture, conscience, and societal equilibrium for the African American male (Bush & Bush, 2013) Four key findings emerged from this study. The key findings are as a communal experience, the career center and its resources are broadly underutilized by African American undergraduate males, African American undergraduate males are not academically or socially the same, African American males are resilient and resistant, and without professional development and internships, African American undergraduate males are challenged to earn full-time gainful employment before graduation. Gainful employment is a measure of success and a return on investment for graduates and higher education institutions. Colleges and universities are motivated by student success and gainful employment, and the implications of this research will bring professional development attention to marginalized populations. Further research by professional organizations like the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and the inclusion of faculty in the university-wide professional development and career services utility promote positive outcomes for all students.