Gabbard to help connect students with industry

September 21, 2018

Headshot of Erica Gabbard

Speed School recently welcomed Erica Gabbard as the Director of Co-Op Partnership and Industry Engagement. Her new position will build on those experiences, focusing on building and maintaining relationships with local, regional, and national industrial partners in an effort to secure new co-op opportunities, and capstone projects.

Gabbard brings 14 years of professional experience working higher education, most recently through her position in the College of Business Ulmer Career Center, where she oversaw employer relations, career events, and coordination for the MBA internship program. 

A Louisville native, Gabbard has a Bachelor of Science in Education, specifically in elementary and special education. Rather than become a teacher, she continued her education, receiving a Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development. Starting as a student worker in the Ulmer Career Center in the College of Business, she developed an appreciation for working with students and industry partners to help provide a smooth transition between academia and the workforce.

“I loved working in the career center and I decided to go back there and started working full time,” said Gabbard. “My role in industry engagement helps me to connect with students, it’s to help the students launch their careers. It’s most important to me, where I can help students, and do that in some way.”

Part of her experience wasn’t in just ensuring the positive experience of all parties, but to try and find placement opportunities for students to find a good career path, and employers to find ideal employees. To do that, she met with business leaders to hear their needs, which she used to help make connections.

“I hope to bring new opportunities to the students, so that I can help employers fill their pipeline. STEM is vitally important in Kentucky, and helping employers understand how important that pipeline is,” said Gabbard. “Ultimately, my goal is to keep both the employers and students happy. I know our students are great, I just have to show the companies that.”