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Career Services story

UW-Eau Claire will host $tart $mart workshops on campus to help prevent the inequity of men's and women's wages. The first workshop is scheduled for Sept. 19 from 1-4 p.m. in Centennial 1916. Repeat sessions of the workshop will also be held on Oct. 21, Dec. 3, March 4 and April 14. To preregister, email $tart $mart's goal is to prepare college women to enter the job market with confidence and knowledge to negotiate salaries and benefits, while earning what they deserve upon graduation.

According to the American Association of University Women's 2013 research report, in just one year out of college, women working full time earn just 82 percent of what their male counterparts earn and the gender gap widens over the next 10 years. Women college graduates were also shown to earn $1.2 million less than a man with the same degree over a lifetime.

"There is a gap and it is real and this is a way to navigate that," said Staci Heidtke,Associate Director of Career Services.

Heidtke said there is a way to negotiate personal salary with integrity and still leave agood impression. It is just a matter of advocating for yourself because it is not easy.

"Not even as a  student, but as an adult who's been out in the field a long time, it's difficult," Heidtke said.

Connie Russell,of AAUW, reached out to Heidtke and suggested providing these workshops to UW-Eau Claire students. Heidtke, along with Chris Jorgensen, director of Women's and LGBTQ Resource Center, and Jacqueline Bonneville, Assistant Dean of Students, worked with Russell, in order to bring these workshops to campus.

"I felt empowered, though, as the instructor explained how to negotiate a fair salary in a calm, professional manner. I have not yet had the chance to apply the skills I acquired through the $tart $mart course, but I am confident in the fact that when the time comes, I will be able to assert my worth and negotiate a salary befitting my skill level," said Sydney Flottum, who attended UWEC's initial $tart $mart Workshop.

Heidtke explained the consequences of not negotiating salary during the first job. She said when someone moves on to their next job, the employer will see how much less they were willing to work for in the past and view them as a "less expensive employee," losing a lot of earning power in the future.

"There were so many things that I did not realize that I needed to know! Overall it was a great workshop because it had a realistic approach to our needs as we leave the university and go into the working world," said Libby Richter, who also attended previous $mart $tart workshops.

Additional topics covered at the workshop will include how to develop a personal budget to determine salary needs and how to benchmark salary and benefits.

The Division of Academic Affairs provided funding to host the workshops for UW-Eau Claire students. Eight faculty and staff are trained to lead the workshops. This year's workshop will be presented on Sept. 19, Oct. 21, Dec. 3, Mar. 4 and Apr. 14. For more information, visit or