Liberal arts education has been touted for the foundational knowledge and transferable skills it imparts to students, such as critical thinking and written communication. These skills are in demand by employers and necessary, given the rapid pace at which technology and information change. However, employers also seek candidates with up-to-date hard skills and industry knowledge, which liberal arts curricula are not designed to deliver. Academic courses also do little to help students understand how interest and skills in one area, such as history, can support a seemingly unrelated career path, such as business.
Career centers can fill this gap, providing complementary education that informs liberal arts students about potential career paths and the experiences that will prepare them to compete for jobs. Toward this objective, career centers commonly provide access to industry guides and career mapping tools, however, this approach may be insufficient to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.
At the University of Michigan’s LSA Opportunity Hub, it is common knowledge that tailored industry advising is critical to setting liberal arts students up for career success. This population of students is diverse in their academic disciplines, amounts of social capital, exposure to career paths, and levels of knowledge about higher education resources. Students who are prepared to take a deep dive into an industry or career path are given direct access to industry advisers who tailor guidance and connections to other resources based on students’ unique situations, knowledge, and experiences. In this session, the panelists will provide an overview of the Opportunity Hub model for determining where students are on the industry knowledge spectrum and in terms of career preparedness. The panelists will discuss the components included in the learning plans created with students and how they continue to provide support throughout the learning cycle.
Following this program, you will be able to:
- Provide tips on industry advising to support diverse liberal arts students with career and self-development, one of the NACE career readiness competencies;
- Review the scaffolded model for industry and career learning that guides students through career readiness; and
- Evaluate a case study activity to apply the model, ideas, and information presented in the session.