When Allyssa Mendoza ’17 started the Human Resource Management certificate program in 2018, she was focused on learning the skills to build her career. But along the way, she also built a personal and professional network.
In one year, students in the HR Management certificate gain the skills needed to enter or advance in the human resources field, from benefits and legal issues to talent acquisition and compensation. The program progresses one course at a time, meeting weekly in the evening, which gives students the opportunity to build connections with others who share a passion for the industry.
By the time Allyssa and three of her classmates – all CSUSM alumni – completed the program in 2019, they were not only professional allies; they were fast friends. In fact, the group’s bond was so tight that program instructor Cole Williamson dubbed them One Love.
“We studied together, laughed together and accomplished so much while being the support system for one another,” says Allyssa, a human resources technician in the Oceanside Unified School District. “We developed such a strong friendship that will last beyond this program. I am thankful to have met such amazing, self-driven HR professionals that were not only by my side watching me grow, but classmates that I could be there for during their own professional milestones.”
The group members come from varied industries – grocery retail, medical technology, education and healthcare – but all share a desire to expand their roles and grow in their careers using the foundational knowledge they developed through the classes.
“Although I have a lot to learn – and am excited to keep learning – I feel that I have more knowledge, skills and mentors to help me take on any projects that come my way,” says Monica Patrick ’16, who recently started a new position as a human resources coordinator for PolyNovo, a medical device company based in Australia. Monica is supporting the company’s HR needs in the United States at their office in Carlsbad, California.
Each member of the group was inspired uniquely to pursue human resources as a career. Ian Caster ’17 was influenced by a human resources rep on one of his first jobs. Now in grocery retail, he hopes to move into leadership at his store or into a human resources role at another company.
“There are a lot of really important practical things that we learned,” Ian says, “but even more than that, we got a big-picture view of what’s important not only for employees but for the business’s interest.”
Some were further inspired by the instructors and industry experts who teach the program’s eight courses.
“My biggest takeaway was that this program has great and knowledgeable instructors,” says Mayra Deleon ’17, a disability and leave of absence management coordinator at Palomar Health. “The instructors are really passionate about what they do. I found this to be very encouraging and motivating to pursue a career in human resources.”
Ultimately, building a body of knowledge along with a personal network through the program was a powerful combination, the group agrees.
“(This certificate) opens the opportunity for growth in my professional career,” says Allyssa. “But most important, the experience I had during this program, the friendships I created, the knowledge I acquired and the relationships that were made between myself and the instructors are things that I will always appreciate and remember.”