ATLANTA—Georgia State University is part of a national group of leading innovative institutions that has received a $2.4 million grant from the Strada Education Network to redesign the college-to-career pathway.
The initiative involves universities’ career services staff, who are using new methods to reimagine career readiness initiatives to support students in finding gainful employment following graduation.
“Career services are a natural evolution of focus for the student success movement,” said Dr. Bridget Burns, executive director of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), recipient of the grant. “If we abandon low-income or first-generation students at graduation with a poorly designed handoff between college-to-career, we risk failing to deliver on the full promise of higher education. Strada Education Network understands that innovation starts with listening to and understanding the perspective of students. This project is about providing career services professionals with the capacity and time to redesign career readiness in order to better prepare students for an increasingly dynamic future of work.”
Consistent with the UIA’s approach to scaling promising practices across universities that ordinarily compete, this initiative is built on an intensive analysis of students’ experiences with current career-related activities on seven UIA campuses: Arizona State University, Georgia State, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Purdue University, the University of California – Riverside and the University of Central Florida.
By mapping processes and systems on their campuses, teams involved in this project, led by career services professionals, will identify where students are encountering roadblocks on the bridge from college to career. University leaders will share common challenges and successful strategies for overcoming them to help students make a stronger transition from college to the world of work.
“Education consumers are telling us, loud and clear, that they’re looking for stronger connections between our nation’s colleges and employers. They’re asking for help making the case that their education is relevant,” said Carol D’Amico, executive vice president, National Engagement and Philanthropy at Strada Education Network. “The University Innovation Alliance is not only doing the hard work of mapping the real-world experiences of students, they’re building trust among institutional leaders that are often afraid to share their challenges.”
Although a Strada-Gallup survey of more than 23,000 adults found that career advice from employers is among the most highly valued, just 20 percent of students report receiving advice from work-based sources. Following the UIA’s process of identifying barriers and opportunities, the UIA plans to engage employers to co-create and scale new innovations that support students’ transition from higher education to the workplace.