sealPurdue News

May 1997

Dual-career couples find support on college campuses

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Academia is taking a lesson from corporate America as competition for faculty and staff increases.

Universities are setting up special assistance programs for dual-career couples to help the accompanying spouses find work and adjust to the new community. Purdue University is one example.

Purdue's program, now a year old, has aided 42 dual-career couples and helped 30 spouses find employment. It's one of seven such programs in the Big 10, and its personalized approach is one others want to model.

"There are just a few other universities that offer this kind of assistance," says counselor Betsy Brewer, who created the Purdue Relocation Assistance Program. "We've had a dozen calls since getting it started. It really is a model program that other schools are interested in duplicating on their campuses."

Brewer says it's individual contact and personal facilitating that make Purdue's program different.

"Not only do we provide job-search strategies and guidance, but we can also do career counseling for people who are thinking about making a change," Brewer says. "We also work on a lot of the adjustment issues connected to a relocation. Other programs tend to focus on serving as a clearinghouse for information."

Relocation specialist Tari Alper took over the program at the beginning of this year when Brewer left Purdue to operate a private consulting service. Both she and Brewer say they believe the program gives Purdue an extra edge in recruiting and retaining faculty and staff.

"A new hire will be much more focused on the job if his or her spouse is getting the kind of help they need to get settled," Alper says. "And the Purdue employee is more likely to stay put if the spouse is happily employed as well."

But she is quick to emphasize that the Relocation Assistance Program is not a job placement service.

"We certainly don't guarantee employment," Alper says. "We do, however, assist the client in becoming oriented and self-sufficient in this new location as quickly as possible."

CONTACTS: Alper, (765) 494-6366; e-mail,
Brewer, (765) 497-3755; e-mail

Compiled by Sharon Bowker, (765) 494-2077; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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