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myHR: January 30, 2013

Thinking about Using Penn’s Tuition Benefit?

If you’ve taken graduate level courses at Penn, you may be familiar with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax exemption for graduate tuition benefits. It allows the first $5,250 of your graduate tuition benefit in the calendar year to be tax-free—and thanks to federal legislation, it’ll continue to be tax-free!

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 made the tax exemption for graduate tuition assistance permanent. Previously, the exemption was subject to an expiration deadline that had to be periodically renewed by Congress. If it wasn’t renewed, your entire graduate tuition benefit would have been considered taxable income. But now that the tax break is permanent, the first $5,250 of your graduate tuition benefit each calendar year will always be tax-free.

If you requested a tuition benefit payment for graduate courses for the 2013 spring semester, your student account should have been reimbursed for the appropriate amount. Contact the Tuition Benefit Office if you have questions about your account.

For more information on Penn’s tuition benefit, click here.

Build Your Career at Penn

Kai Gibson-Tshilenge has worked at Penn since 1998. But last year she faced a career hurdle when her grant-funded position as assistant editor of a medical journal for the School of Medicine was ending. Kai wanted to transition into another department at the University—and thanks to Penn’s Recruitment and Staffing Department, she did.

“I’ve called Penn my home for almost 15 years, and I didn’t want to leave my career here. So I contacted Human Resources for guidance on finding a new job at the University,” Kai said.

With the help of HR’s employment counseling services, Kai learned how to better market herself for other job opportunities on campus. She worked with Noribel Fontanez, an HR recruitment specialist, to polish her resume, fine-tune her cover letter and prepare a strong job application. She even participated in a mock interview to get a better understanding of the types of questions she’d be asked and how to best answer them.

“Noribel was invaluable. She guided me in choosing jobs that were a good match for my background and helped me prepare for many of the questions that I faced during the interview process. I couldn’t have been more prepared,” Kai said.

And her preparation paid off. Now seven months into her role as staff assistant for the Office of the Provost, Kai couldn’t be happier with her new job.

“I love working with student groups and getting a first-hand look at how major decisions are made at the University,” she said.

Want to learn how Penn’s Recruitment and Staffing Department can help you? Click here to contact a recruitment specialist or call 215-898-7284 for more information.

Make a Date with Your Heart

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so mark the occasion by giving your heart a special gift: good health.

Join us on February 14 to Make a Date with Your Heart. This free workshop will give you the keys to a heart-healthy lifestyle. You’ll learn about the many factors that can impact your heart health—like fitness, nutrition, sleeping habits, and stress—and how to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Ready to get heart strong? Click here for complete details and to register.

Become a Better Writer

Knowing how to write effectively is crucial when it comes to being successful on the job. With so much information moving from one person to the next, you need to know how to cut through the clutter and get your message across clearly. And we’ll show you how!

Join us on February 26, March 7 and March 11 to learn how to make your Words@Work more powerful. This three-day writing program will show you how to craft business messages that are on target and on time. You’ll learn how to grab readers’ attention with clear, concise and persuasive words. Get hands-on practice with the latest writing tools, and learn techniques to help you revise your own work.

Ready to energize your writing? Your department will be charged a nominal fee ($75) for this workshop. Click here for complete details and to register.

Improve Your Listening Skills

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. Whether you’re pitching a new idea to a colleague, helping out a family member, or having a conversation with your supervisor, you need to know how to listen well in order to make progress. But not everyone does it well, and we can help.

Join us on February 13 for an in-depth look at Effective Listening and Communication. You’ll learn valuable listening and communication techniques to enhance your personal and professional relationships. Discover how to effectively extract information, when and how it makes sense to communicate, and professional vs. personal listening and communication skills.

You’re welcome to bring a lunch to this free workshop. Click here for complete details and to register.