Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kaleidoscope of Skills Helps Art Institute Students Start Careers

Cindy Jones

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Cindy Jones, the new Director of Career Services at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, faces a unique challenge when she helps pending graduates look toward careers.

“Our students aren’t typical,” she says. “They’re highly talented in creative fields. On top of that, the companies in these creative areas are out of the ordinary, too. Helping upcoming graduates prepare to find entry jobs in, say, animation, video game design or aiding a chef is a totally different challenge than coaching them to interview for a teaching position or something in retail sales.”

At the end of the next year, Jones estimates, “We’ll have probably a hundred grads to assist with employment. To help them land their entry level positions, we show them how to prepare resumes, describe job search strategies and even conduct mock interviews. We take them on fieldtrips to various employers, too, and hold workshops on such topics as Professionalism On the Job.”

Jones’ background will do her well, having owned an art gallery in Big Bear Lake where she had to interface with more than 200 artists, market her monthly exhibits and annual juried art shows and cultivate relationships with community businesses. She coached the artists, as well, in how to make their personal presentations to other galleries.

Previously, she was a producer for a top food photography studio in Pasadena with clients that included Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Burger King and Lucky Markets. Her intern programs lured students from across the nation, helping them understand the intricacies of everything from budgeting to working with the public. Additionally, Jones developed and supervised photography and culinary intern programs for students.

Aided by Career Services Advisor Brenda Medina, Cindy Jones says one of their greatest tasks is in creating, then further developing, partnerships within the community. “For instance, we have to get out among the businesses to learn how their field is changing and how their needs for personnel are evolving. This helps us in guiding our graduates, but also in modifying our school curriculum to keep it relevant.”

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Culinary Management, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion Marketing & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fashion Design. There are also Associate of Science degrees in Graphic Design and Culinary Arts. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start the new year at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin Jan. 12 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a free tour of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire call (909) 915-2100 or go on line to artinstitutes.edu/inlandempire.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is one of the Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu), with 40 educational institutions throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.