Initial Publication Date: February 3, 2017

Support Transitions at the Program or Department Level

This page was developed as a synthesis of lessons learned by participants in InTeGrate program models and is part of an extended set of InTeGrate resources on strengthening workforce preparation in degree programs.

In our courses, departments, and within the institution, we have to explicitly identify the career opportunities within our field and build the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. In order to support a transition to the workforce, we have to think outside of a course to help expose students to career opportunities, explicitly identify the pathway options to that career, and help students document their preparedness.

Clarify Pathways to an Earth-Related Career

An initial step to helping students transition into the workforce is ensuring that they know what career opportunities exist and what it takes to reach those careers. Talking about careers during class, bringing in alumni to speak to students about their experiences, and designating a point-person in the department that students can talk to for more information about pathways to sustainability careers are some ways to ensure that students receive needed career information.

University of Illinois - Chicago
The UIC team put together several resources to hep increase students' exposure to Geoscience related jobs. We have developed more streamlined career information that can be added to our course's CMS system, a Geoscience Career Infographic poster used in classrooms and online, a series of YouTube videos featuring alumni. UIC faculty also employed a Resume Activity to expose students to careers and help them build a resume before they graduated.

Practice Good Advising and Mentoring »Work with institutional career services office or career pathways program. Make sure institutional career center or career pathway program has Earth related and sustainability careers on their radar.

Claflin University
Part 3 - Incorporate InTeGrate project's goals into Claflin University's has a career pathways initiative funded by the Lilly Foundation and the program model is striving to expand their pool of careers to include Earth related and sustainability careers. (personal comm. with Camelia) Getting more people to talk about Earth related careers.
University of Illinois - Chicago
The UIC team connected with Office of Career Services to conduct activities inside of classrooms and / or present to faculty.

Don't forget that teachers are part of the STEM workforce. Be familiar with the requirements of education degrees that your institution offers so that you can be a resource for students interested in teaching the science as well as the science itself.

See also: InTeGrate: Prepare Future Teachers »

Provide Multiple Opportunities to Connect to Careers and Gain Workforce Skills

Through multiple experiences that span the curriculum, students are able to deepen their knowledge of what it takes to be a professional in the field and see the range of opportunities within geoscience. This "practice" allows students to perfect their skills building towards their own professional capacity. This repeated exposure also helps students to see a place for themselves in geoscience discipline and workforce.

Wittenberg University
The Wittenberg project provided multiple opportunities to learn about careers as a part of their First Year Seminar, introductory science courses, partnering with community members on service learning, and a methods course for future teachers.
California State University - Chico
Chico has a Sustainability GE Pathway where faculty at all course levels and across the disciplines in the program are using InTeGrate materials in a coordinated way. Students get multiple exposures to sustainability and societal issues materials in such a way as to minimize repetition.
University of Texas - El Paso
As a part of this project, there is a capstone course in the geology degree program at EPCC where students jointly conduct field work with UTEP students. They get a sense of their peers' experiences, what it is like to be a geologist, and also see a place for themselves at the four-year institution.

Develop New Workshops, Certificates, and Minors to Build Professional Portfolio

Program models made career development more explicit by providing students with additional opportunities to explore relevant areas of study, gain specific skill sets, and document those experiences in their professional portfolio.

Claflin University
The Claflin team is conducting GIS and GPR training sessions to provide students with work-relevant skills. The two 4-hour Saturday sessions include training on hazard mitigation and preparedness in addition to an introduction to careers in hazards and sustainability. This route was a change from the initial plan to infuse the content across several courses and resulted in an increase in the number of contact hours possible.
Penn State University
The Penn State team spearheaded the development of an Earth Sustainability Minor and Certificate of Excellence in Earth Sustainability. In its first year, the certificate program attracted twenty nine students. At the time of this writing, the minor had just been adopted but had not received any students yet.
Savannah State University
Two new courses have been created to develop a certificate program in coastal risk, management, and environmental justice. At the time of this writing, the certificate was in the process of being approved.
Shippensburg University
At Shippensburg, all Geography and Earth Science majors are required to complete an internship for graduation. Through the implementation, faculty were able to encourage students to focus on experiences related to sustainability and students responded that they had positive experiences.