Strengthen Workforce Preparation in your Program

Illuminate Career Opportunities to Help Students Prepare Early

Support your students from day one through graduation and give them the preparation they need to find the right career. Many students are unaware of the diversity of careers they can pursue with a geoscience degree. Help students discover the possibilities by building connections with local and regional employers, encouraging them to attend association meetings, and developing an alumni network with whom they can interact.

Understand the needs of the workforce

In order to prepare your students for the future workforce, you (and they) need to understand what the current workforce looks like. Learn about the needs of and opportunities offered by the future workforce. The page also presents information about employment statistics, information about major employment sectors, and a description of future opportunities that will arise as the current workforce retires.

Integrate Professional Preparation into your Program »

Don't wait until your students are about to graduate to talk with them about potential careers. Learn more about integrating professional preparation into your program from the Building Strong Geoscience Departments project. While aimed at geoscience departments, the information provided is applicable for a range of departments.

Showcase diverse career paths

Explore the wide range of careers, both traditional and non-traditional, available to geoscience graduates. Learn more about geoscience careers from the SAGE 2YC project. Give students a glimpse of a day in the life of a professor or instructor through Cutting Edge's collection of academic career profiles. Explore a variety of career profiles beyond academia from Cutting Edge or through the Building Strong Geoscience Departments web page on non-traditional careers.

Showcase Career Opportunities that Utilize Earth Knowledge »
There are a great many career opportunities for those with geoscience expertise, but we can't expect our students to know about them unless we provide information about them. Exposing students to potential futures using Earth knowledge can have a direct impact on their choosing one.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs

Equip Students with Skills and Experience that will Help Them Land a Job

There are several ways to provide students with the opportunities and practice they need to strengthen industry-specific and interdisciplinary skills as well as personal effectiveness skills throughout their education. Offering paired courses between departments and requiring senior capstones, internships, or other pre-professional experiences to graduate from your program are just a few of these ways.

Strengthen communication skills and learn about needed competencies

Strong written and oral communication skills are a highly sought after asset for new hires. The Developing Communication Skills for the Workforce page provides tips on integrating opportunities to strengthen students' communication skills, both in courses and throughout the degree program. The Needed Competencies page identifies and expands upon other important and sought-after competencies identified by employers.

Give credit for internships and other pre-professional opportunities

Internships and other pre-professional opportunities give students hands-on practice in building industry-specific skills while also providing them with a network for finding employment upon graduation. Further, internships can strengthen their soft skills both on the job (with real experience) as well as off the job (e.g. presenting and/or writing up a report on their research and/or experience). Students' classroom work can also improve as a result of completing an internships. Learn more about the benefits of internships and pre-professional opportunities and how to incorporate them into your program.

Incorporate opportunities for interdisciplinary coursework

Offering students dual-credit or paired courses involving two or more departments can build students' skills in interdisciplinary work, communication, teamwork, and other soft skills. It can build a culture of collaboration among students from different disciplinary backgrounds. Problem-solving projects and activities in these courses can strengthen students' ability to work in teams with others from different majors, which, in turn, can help strengthen students' communication skills with those outside their field. This can provide a more holistic perspective to problem-solving by encouraging them to see a given problem through the eyes of different 'stakeholders.' Learn more about interdisciplinary teaching and ways to design inter- or multi-disciplinary courses.

Develop Interdisciplinary Curricula »
Many of the InTeGrate Implementation Programs landed on a common overall process for developing interdisciplinary curricula. They first identified key leaders to frame a common understanding and remove barriers between academic units, followed by a process of modifying or adding courses. Course-level changes, in turn, led to larger-scale change.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs

Connect with Employers & Alumni

Establishing a relationship between your department and local employers can lead to benefits for both sides: students gain awareness of opportunities and build their professional network while employers can get a preview of potential hires. If your department has alumni working at local companies, they can be an invaluable resource during this process.

Maintaining a thriving alumni network can lead to many more advantages. Alumni serve as examples to current students and are often happy to give advice. Strategies from Building Strong Geoscience Departments are identified on these pages:

Build Connections with Employers

Connect your program and your students to local employers and let everyone reap the benefits.

Stay in Touch with Your Alumni

Work with your department's alumni and keep students, faculty and administrators aware of what's going on in the workforce.

Find Partners in the Workplace »
In almost every part of the country there are businesses and government agencies eager to hire graduates with geoscience expertise. Reaching out to make connections with firms and offices can generate opportunities to bring in external speakers and place students in internships as well as potentially generate financial or in-kind support for the academic programs that prepare those graduates.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs

Models of Program Design and Implementation

Several of the InTeGrate program models had a particular emphasis on strengthening workforce preparation in their programs. Their program pages are deep descriptions of program design, implementation, and outcomes. From these examples, you can learn how to increase student opportunities through partnerships, bring employers into the classroom, design a robust bridge program with local two-year colleges, and other important activities. You can also see a synthesis of lessons learned about supporting transitions to the workforce, transfer, and careers drawn from the experiences of all the implementation teams.

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