Arizona State University Working With Businesses, Faculty to Ensure That Graduates Are Well-Prepared for the Workforce

Tempe, AZ | Submitted by Cindy Parnell, M.Ed.

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The core goal for any educator entails preparing their students for life beyond the classroom. This becomes a primary focus at the university level, as their pupils are on the cusp of career, civic and home life.

In the past, universities have sometimes struggled to provide the real-world learning that students need to succeed after graduation. Many employers lamented that students, while well-steeped in academic knowledge, lacked the skills necessary to excel in the workplace. But in today’s globally competitive economy, that is all changing. At Arizona State University, the Career & Professional Development Services team is dedicated entirely to aiding students in creating a personalized professional development plan so students gain the skills needed to get hired.

Especially after the Great Recession, students and employers have high expectations for their educational experience, and Arizona State University has responded with an increased focus on career readiness. For instance, within the Career & Professional Development Services department, team members specialize in specific industries. This depth of understanding career advisors them to guide students in the most effective way possible and to develop deep industry connections.

More broadly, the University has also developed close ties with businesses regionally, nationally and globally. As a result, faculty departments better understand what employers are looking for, and they’re able to supplement instruction accordingly. Because these same companies are determining which universities to recruit from, this gives ASU’s students a competitive edge in their job search efforts.

To ensure that students of all disciplines are well-prepared, ASU has integrated eight core competencies at all levels. Every path of study incorporates these skills that are necessary in business, including oral/written communication, teamwork, information technology application, leadership, professionalism, career management and global/intercultural fluency.

Within many majors, specialized programs prepare learners for their career path. The eProjects program, for example, links students to industry in order to solve real-world problems, under the guidance of expert faculty members. Students work in teams and materials and expenses are funded by the industry partner, who also retains the intellectual property created by the semester- or year-long project. The university has also created an award-winning program in partnership with Maricopa County. Students can compete for paid intern positions at a number of departments, to gain hands-on experience and greatly enhance their education with an introduction to the opportunities and rewards of public service careers.

These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Arizona State University was recently ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for graduate employability, according to the Global University Employability Survey. This recognition placed ASU ahead of MIT, Columbia, and UCLA. The University has also been honored by the Wall Street Journal for the quality of graduates.

But beyond the accolades, ASU has been chosen as a top tier recruiting school by more than 100 companies and organizations. So it’s no surprise that among the undergraduate class of 2015-16, which boasted over 22,000 students, 87 percent are employed within 90 days of graduation. That figure climbs to more than 90 percent for graduate degree-holders. And graduates’ average earnings are climbing, up to $43,322 and $63,322 for undergraduates and graduates respectively.

Here is what a few Arizona companies have to say:

  • “ASU offers many opportunities for us to meet and engage with quality candidates.” ~ U-Haul International
  • “We’ve been recruiting at ASU for 15+ years; and we started this endeavor and continue this endeavor, due to ASU’s ranking, quality of students and programs offered at ASU, proximity to our offices and interest in our positions by ASU students.” ~ GEICO
  • “We have an excellent Practicum Program with ASU’s Psychology Department. ASU is local and many of our current employees are ASU alumni.” ~ Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center

Eliminating the skills gap and preparing students for their future career path is a top priority for Arizona State University. By working closely with partner businesses to ensure that their instruction conforms to business needs, and by creating nimble academic programs, students are sure to graduate with the skills they need to succeed.

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