Going Beyond Academics to Develop Career-Ready Students

Going Beyond Academics to Develop Career-Ready Students

New Course from Vector Solutions Helps Prepare Students for the Modern Workforce

Students typically go to college with the expectation it will help prepare them for their chosen careers. In fact, one survey found that 73% of high school students think a direct path to a career is essential in postsecondary education.

However, many students and employers feel students’ degree programs aren’t adequately preparing them to be a part of the modern workforce. This has led to students rethinking the value of college itself, which is contributing to dissatisfaction, and enrollment declines. In fact, the percentage of high school students considering a college degree is at a historic low – down 20% in the past 3 years.

Learning the subject matter competencies addressed within their college coursework is necessary for student success. However, leadership and other “career readiness” skills are equally important when preparing students to be part of the modern workforce.

To meet the shifting expectations of both students and employers, many colleges and universities are elevating the work of their career centers and are focusing heavily on helping students develop career readiness competencies.

What Is Career Readiness and Why Is It Important?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified career readiness as the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.

Career readiness competencies, sometimes called “21st Century Skills,” aren’t necessarily taught during traditional academic courses. However, employers often consider these skills just as important as academics when it comes to hiring. These skills help equip employees with the ability to overcome challenges effectively, work in teams, manage people, and pivot as needed to accomplish tasks and to support the success of their company or organization.

The eight competencies associated with career readiness according to NACE are:

  • Career and self-development: Proactively developing oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and outside of one’s organization.
  • Communication: Clearly and effectively exchanging information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.
  • Critical thinking: Identifying and responding to needs based on an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.
  •  Equity and inclusion: Demonstrating the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engaging in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.
  • Leadership: Recognizing and capitalizing on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.
  • Professionalism: Knowing work environments differ greatly, understanding and demonstrating effective work habits, and acting in the interest of the larger community and workplace.
  • Teamwork: Building and maintaining collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.
  • Technology: Understanding and leveraging technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Offering training around these non-academic skills can help colleges and universities provide a well-rounded learning experience for students. It can also help institutions attract and retain students by meeting students’ expectations that they will be prepared for careers after graduation.

It’s important to note that teaching career readiness competencies is most effective if it is part of a larger focus that includes strategies such as work-based learning (internships and apprenticeships), employer participation in curriculum advisory boards, and collaborative design of course curriculum, among others. By investing in career readiness, colleges and universities can successfully prepare students to meet the shifting demands of being in today’s workforce.

How Vector Solutions Can Help

Vector Solutions’ new Leadership and Career Readiness online course provides students with a deep dive into the key life and social skills necessary for success in attaining a leadership position, entering college, or starting a career. Designed for undergraduate and graduate students who are preparing for employment in the modern workplace, this engaging online course is authored by subject matter expert Dr. Stephanie Carter, who has more than 20 years of experience working on college campuses and who currently serves as Interim Dean of Residence Life and Housing at Wake Forest University.

The Leadership and Career Readiness course includes 11 modules:

  • Being a Servant Leader
  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Effective Decision-Making
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Empathy
  • Having a Vision
  • Humility
  • Inspiring and Motivating Others
  • Modeling Good Behaviors
EDU - HE - Leadership and Career Readiness Product Shot

For more information, download the Leadership and Career Readiness Overview Brochure.

Want to Know More?

Reach out and a Vector Solutions representative will respond back to help answer any questions you might have.