Luther senior Pulliam worked with displaced workers at IowaWORKS

Luke Pulliam, Luther College senior, interned with IowaWORKS, assisting displaced workers and young adults with employment barriers. He helped them find unemployment insurance, gave assessments to pinpoint career opportunities, referred them to jobs and established plans of action for each person.

The son of Ian and Siri Pulliam of Tracy, California, Pulliam graduated from Tracy High School. He plans to graduate from Luther in 2018 with a degree in management.

Before completing this internship, Pulliam was unsure of his plans upon graduation, and this experience enabled him to help people contemplating employment. He completed career assessments and utilized IowaWORKS to establish future career plans.

Pulliam also met with employers to discuss the services IowaWORKS offers, and developed marketing materials for their young adult program.

Pulliam also learned the importance of having empathy in the workplace. Many of the people he worked with were either laid off, fired or had personal barriers making the job-seeking process difficult. The key to this is empathy, Pulliam says, because in showing clients he cared about their success, the clients achieved higher results. "Once this trust was formed it made it much easier for us to work with them, boosted their morale and confidence, and we saw much better results," he said.

His manager stressed the importance of the employees' stake in the company's success as part of the IowaWORKS network. "This gives employees a voice in the decision-making [process] and the freedom to use their own creativity in their work. This gives employees a stake in the company's success and makes them want to work harder," Pulliam said.

Pulliam also worked with various business owners to learn about the hiring process from their perspectives.

Approximately 10 percent of Luther students take an internship for academic credit each academic year. The Luther College Career Center assists students with their internship search through resume preparation, networking, online internship searches, career fairs, on-campus interviewing, and connecting the student to alumni through the college's Alumni Internship Program. Students also meet with a faculty adviser prior to the internship to create an internship learning plan that includes learning goals and assessment benchmarks.

An internship work supervisor also assists in the process by writing an evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. Students complete a self-reflection form to help finalize the learning experience.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.

Luther senior Luke Pulliam, with Luther alumna Amy Chicos, at his internship with IowaWORKS.