Mychael Heuer just started his position as SPSCC Career Services director, but he is not new to Olympia or SPSCC. He has been the Clipper Athletics Women’s Basketball Head Coach for two years. He also performed various jobs at The Evergreen State College over the last 13 years after moving to Washington from Oakland, CA, where he grew up.
Heuer said he didn’t always know it, but he has been preparing for his position as Career Services director since he was a youth.
Heuer earned a Master of Education from the University of Washington in 2007, a Bachelor of Public Administration from the University of San Francisco in 2000, and an Associate of Arts from Vista College (Berkeley, CA) in 1997.
Heuer said that as a kid growing up in Oakland, he played basketball and community leaders identified him as a role model for other youth in his community. He got involved in the mayor’s Summer Jobs Program for the youth. It helped him get well-paying jobs. As he got older, he helped other youths in the program. He said they did things like mock interviews on camera and discussed how to build a business-casual wardrobe on a budget.
He said that because of the skills he developed in that program and in school, he started working for the District Attorney and moved up the ladder. He also started coaching basketball at Patton University.
When his wife moved to Olympia to become the head coach for Evergreen’s women’s basketball team 13 years ago, Heuer said he had to make a decision about where to take his career. He said that as he worked at the DA’s office, he began to think he could have more impact doing something else. “When you’re in law enforcement, all the bad stuff has already happened,” he said.
He said he wanted to find something that paralleled athletics. Since he already had experience as a coach at a school, education was a natural choice, he said. He often recruited players, helping them make the decision to come and “bridge” to his school, which he said prepared him for his work as an academic and career development advisor.
Heuer said he knew he had to make a commitment to moving to Washington before he could find a job here, so he quit his job, cashed out his retirement, and followed his wife north.
His first paid jobs were yard duty and library assistance at Woodland Elementary in North Thurston. He also volunteered as an assistant coach to his wife at Evergreen, and started attending workshops there.
He said members of the college first recognized him for his ability as a recruiter to “maneuver students into the school.” Over the next 11 years at Evergreen, he held positions as an academic advisor, career development facilitator, career counseling specialist, associate head coach of women’s basketball, adjunct faculty (teaching sports sociology, and leadership classes), and finally as acting director of the Career Development Center for the last three years.
Heuer said that although he is still “getting acclimated” to the office and position at SPSCC, he has plans for the department. He is excited to move into the new building when it is finished and continue the trajectory of development the department has already started, he said. First it was “Student Employment,” then “The Job Center,” now it is heading from “Career Services” to “a full-on Career Center,” he said.
After he has “taken inventory” of what is already in place at the school, he said he wants to build more workshops on resume-writing and interviewing, and he wants to improve the website to make Career Services more visible.
He said it is important to continue building relationships with potential employers while helping students build their value presentation to continue drawing employers to the school to hire students.
Heuer said he chose to come to SPSCC because he is “a big believer in access” and it was the next logical step in his career. He said, “There was nothing wrong with Evergreen,” but the position was not permanent. Also, he was already involved with this campus as the women’s basketball coach.
“Four-year schools can filter who can come in, right? I’ve been a product of accessibility — first generation born here, first generation to go to college; I’ve earned my master’s degree from the University of Washington, my bachelor’s at San Francisco, but it was all founded on a community college degree,” said Heuer.
Heuer said he likes the new challenge, and sees the department as a “growing opportunity, an opportunity to build,” and to use his experience. He said he sees his “steepest learning curve” having to do with the difference between working at a four-year school versus a two-year school. Students are generally looking at a different “career ladder” and academic path, he said. “The overall mission is the same, but the region is really the South Sound,” he said.
He said that after working for a couple years under Gerald Pumphrey and Rhonda Coats and others, he sees this school as a good fit.
Heuer said he is happy to be working in his community, helping people “flourish.” “I would be doing it anyway as a volunteer, but if I could get paid to do what I love [why wouldn’t I]?” he said.