students with bikes at Google corporate headquarters

About the Center for Careers, Life, and Service

About Us

A career is more than just a series of jobs. Grinnell’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service, affectionately known as the “CLS” on campus, works with students to design a life that encompasses their personal, professional, and civic ambitions. We believe one’s impact, satisfaction, and sense of purpose are maximized when one is able to align their values, strengths, and curiosities. We encourage students to not only ask themselves what they want to do, but what problem they want to solve. 

Achieving this outcome is no small task. We begin working with students early — before they even attend their first class at Grinnell. Every incoming first-year student is assigned a CLS exploratory adviser. Students work with their exploratory adviser, along with a cadre of specialized CLS advisers, throughout their undergraduate years and into their life as an alum. Through proactive and consistent engagement, Grinnell students are poised to live, learn, and work with meaning and purpose. 


To empower students and alumni to live, learn, and work with meaning and purpose.


All Grinnellians leading lives of meaning and purpose.

Core Values

Student-Centered: Preparing students to live, learn, and work with meaning and purpose requires a steadfast, unrelenting focus on their growth and development. From individualized advising to large-scale programs, students' needs are at the heart of everything we do. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We continually strive to ensure the CLS is a place where ALL stakeholders feel welcomed, heard, valued, and supported.

Expertise: We are a team of individuals with distinct backgrounds, strengths, skills, and knowledge. And, like our students, we are dynamic learners who are continuously growing and developing. 

Collaboration: Fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with our stakeholders — students, alumni, faculty, recruiters, community partners, foundations, families — is essential to realizing our mission. 

Creativity: We routinely question conventional perspectives and processes in order to bring innovative solutions that are responsive to our stakeholders’ evolving needs.

Our Model

Advising and Exploration: The Advising and Exploration Team helps students explore, discern, and articulate their values, strengths, and interests through individualized advising, self-reflection activities; on- and off-campus experiences; alumni connections; and more.

Career Communities: As students develop a greater sense of direction, they transition to one or more of the CLS’s seven distinct Career Communities, where they receive specialized advising and programming designed to focus and connect their values, strengths, and interests to particular post-graduate goals and ambitions.

Global Fellowships and Awards: The Global Fellowships and Awards Team coaches and advises students and alumni through the reflection, application, and nomination processes for highly selective awards including the Watson, Truman, Fulbright, and other post-graduate awards and scholarships. 

Service and Social Innovation: The Service and Social Innovation Team offers advising for civic exploration as well as support for service and social innovation experiences such as volunteering, community-based learning courses, Service Learning Work-Study, Alternative Break service projects, and local social innovation projects and workshops.

Employer Engagement: The Employer Engagement Team develops, coordinates, and manages outreach and engagement activities to increase the volume, caliber, and diversity of internships, full-time employment, and other post-graduate opportunities for Grinnell students.


Handshake: Handshake is Grinnell’s online platform for finding jobs and internships, making appointments with advisers, and registering for CLS events. Students use their Grinnell username and password to log in. Once logged in, students can customize their experience by completing their profile and adding career interests. 

Grinnell Connect: Grinnell Connect is the online community where students and alumni connect, network with one another, provide/receive mentoring, and share opportunities. Students and alumni may log in using LinkedIn or Facebook.


Contact Us

1103 Park Street
Grinnell, IA 50112


We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.