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Loyola University Maryland offers free ASPIRE courses and career support to the Class of 2020

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In light of the unique challenges caused by COVID-19, Loyola University Maryland has developed a robust program to help support alumni from the Class of 2020. As part of a joint initiative between the office of continuing education, the Loyola Alumni Association, and career services, Loyola will provide professional resources to these recent graduates, who are facing distinctive challenges as they launch their careers. 

Through the initiative, members of the Class of 2020 receive free and discounted online courses through the University’s ASPIRE program, career counseling services, and virtual opportunities to connect and network with alumni throughout the country.

ASPIRE, Loyola’s extended learning community, has created a custom platform to offer members of the Class of 2020 four free online courses and 50% off all ASPIRE courses through the end of the calendar year. 

“Providing these services through the ASPIRE platform is a way for the University to show support to our recent graduates who had an unprecedented semester,” said Jack Rice, director of the Center for Montessori Education at Loyola. “This is a way for us to give them the tools they need to continue their education and help them advance in their careers.”

The four free ASPIRE courses are Transitioning Your Learning Experience Online, Virtual Meetings, Ace Your Job Search, and Personal Finances. The online courses will provide graduates with networking skills, details on crafting a resume and cover letter, and basic skills for achieving financial success. 

Students from the Class of 2020 who enroll in the ASPIRE courses will join an online community where they can stay in touch with their classmates and tap into continuing education resources including links to the ASPIRE podcast and a discussion board.

“We need to acknowledge the harsh turn of events that occurred for the Class of 2020,” said Jim Dickinson, Ph.D., assistant vice president for career services. “In February, we were operating in one of the hottest job markets of all time. Today, we’re facing a global health crisis with record unemployment numbers. Still, our graduates are pursuing their next steps with a resilient spirit and confidence in their ability to make a difference in whatever path they choose. The coronavirus pandemic has presented so many challenges, but it has also reinforced my belief that Jesuit-educated graduates are exactly who the world needs now.”

Amid the current pandemic, the career services team at Loyola has worked to provide virtual services for students and the Class of 2020. They turned their spring career fair into a virtual event using Zoom technology and connected 22 employers with over 100 students. They hosted a four-part “Loyola Ready Summit” that engaged more than 300 students, alumni, and parents on topics of job market realities, resilience, and inspiration to take action. 

“It is important to support our most recent alumni, especially in this challenging time,” said Colleen Riopko, ’02, director of alumni engagement. “It’s our plan to support this class throughout the year as they adjust to life after Loyola and navigate the current pandemic.”

Career services and Loyola’s Alumni Association is also partnering with 20 fellow Jesuit universities to host The 2020 Virtual Career Consortium of Jesuit Colleges and Universities for the Class of 2020 on Thursday, July 23, 2020, between noon-3 p.m. Interested alumni can register for the nationwide virtual career fair. There will be employers from around the country representing industries such as media, marketing, financial services, health care, technology, government and law, and many more. 

In addition, alumni—including the Class of 2020—can schedule one-on-one appointments with career services through Handshake, attend any of Loyola’s on- and off-campus events in the future, and access career networking support from places like Loyola Connect. The career services team has also put together a comprehensive list of resources and answers to frequently asked questions, which may be helpful to recent graduates now looking for employment opportunities.

For more information and to register for the ASPIRE courses, visit ASPIRE. If you have specific questions about the program email Please stay tuned to the Evergreen Update and visit the Alumni Association’s website to view upcoming virtual events and alumni benefits.