The Center for Careers, Life, and Service: Launching Grinnellians into the future

Grinnellians have always exerted an outsized influence on the world. Our robustly intellectual,social justice–oriented learning community galvanizes independent thinkers, compassionate citizens, and groundbreaking professionals, generation after generation. Now, thanks to the recently established Center for Careers, Life, and Service, the college not only stands behind Grinnellians as they look forward to their next steps but also helps clarify the way ahead — so Grinnellians graduate fully prepared to thrive after Grinnell and to lead lives of distinctive and enduring purpose.

The CLS’s exceptional model acknowledges that our graduates’ lives are guided by their personal and professional commitments. To that end, the CLS guides Grinnellians to:

  • engage in self-reflection to develop a sophisticated understanding of their values, strengths, and interests;
  • develop the ability to distill and use their observations and discoveries to refine and guide their goals;
  • acquire the experiences, knowledge, and skills to clarify and pursue meaningful postgraduate pathways;
  • learn to present themselves effectively and persuasively — including their values, strengths, and qualifications — to an array of audiences;
  • learn how to identify — and cultivate relationships with — individuals who can support their professional, personal, and civic development; and
  • develop the ability to conduct themselves in an ethical, socially responsible, and professionally respectful manner as they live, learn, work, and serve.


Some students enter the CLS eager to begin developing their professional, personal, and civic identity, while others are completely unsure of what questions to even begin asking. My colleagues and I meet each student where they are and walk with them on an individualized journey of self-exploration, values clarification, and strengths and skill development.

Kelly Guilbeau
Career Counselor


Working closely with expert CLS staff members, Grinnell students approach their futures from virtually every angle: discussing and planning their career paths; identifying and applying for service opportunities, internships, and job-shadows; considering and applying for graduate school or postgraduate fellowships; honing their resumes, applications, and cover letters; and sharpening critical life and work skills such as communication, decision-making, and teamwork. Meanwhile, for recruiters, CLS hosts a wide range of on-campus and online events, bringing employers and organizations face-to-face with incisively prepared Grinnellians.

But the CLS doesn’t just support new and soon-to-be Grinnell graduates. The Center assists Grinnell alumni with career changes and grad-school applications. And the CLS draws upon our alumni’s expertise and generosity to assist current students through internships, job shadowing experiences, and career advising.

To maintain and expand this thriving hub of activity, where Grinnellians discover, debate, and create their future selves, we need your financial support. Your gift to the CLS ensures that current and future graduates possess the right tools to turn aspiration into reality — and to fully live the distinctively Grinnellian lives that await them.

Map Illistration

Signs of success

  • 87% Grads employed in positions related to their career goals (Class of 2015)
  • 96% Grads accepted to their 1st or 2nd choice graduate program (Class of 2015)
  • Externship program participation has quadrupled since 2011
  • $298,118 Funding awarded to students (summer 2015)

Will you help us launch another Grinnellian generation? To give, call 866.850.1846, or email giving@grinnell.edu.