The Importance of Professional and Student SHRM Chapter Relationships

Current practitioners serve as positive role models for the next generation of HR professionals

By Leon Prieto, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP August 9, 2018
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Leon Prieto, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP

​As part of his role as student relations chair for SHRM-Atlanta chapter, Van Travis, SHRM-CP, regularly travels to SHRM student chapters at institutions of higher education in the region.

"It is good practice for current HR practitioners to visit student bodies at local colleges and universities, targeting all degree programs," he said. "We share real-world applications of HR practices in support of knowledge acquired in the classroom and from books. We deliver insight and give meaningful, substantive advice about career paths and development."

Travis, who holds a master's degree in HR management, is a full-time HR business partner for ADP; he volunteers his time providing this mentorship service.

As an advisor to a student SHRM chapter at Clayton State University in metro Atlanta, I can affirm that it is important for student chapters to establish a solid relationship with a professional SHRM chapter—one that believes in nurturing the next generation of HR practitioners. Travis' work with us demonstrates SHRM-Atlanta's commitment to mentorship.

"We are making an investment in future HR aspirants, getting students excited and involved early on," Travis said. "Our support gives them leverage before graduation for building relationships and networking with professionals, which can lead to securing internships and opening a gateway to permanent opportunities."

During a recent visit to our chapter, Travis described the benefits of being a SHRM member and earning a SHRM credential. "A SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP is more than letters placed behind your name for bragging," he said. "It's a sign of dedication and commitment to your craft. Many employers, today and in the foreseeable future, recognize the value of SHRM certification. When they see those letters, they know the quality of the HR professional and the body of HR knowledge they're getting."

The student chapter members enjoyed Travis' visit. "It is important for HR professionals to visit college chapters, because not all students are aware of how beneficial SHRM certification is in helping their careers," said accounting major Latoya Penny, current president of Clayton State SHRM.

Students often learn from role models. Professional SHRM chapters can serve as role models by forming strong relationships with SHRM student chapters, providing guidance and mentorship to those embarking on a career in HR.

Leon Prieto, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, is associate professor of management in the College of Business at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga., and advisor to the Clayton State chapter of SHRM. He is also associate editor of the interdisciplinary Journal of Management History.

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