Q&A: How to Build a Successful Student Employability Strategy
Many higher education institutions are struggling to launch measurable and effective student work readiness programs — yet the student demand for them isn’t subsiding. In the following Q&A, Peter Stokes, a managing director, provides practical insights into what some institutions may face when seeking to launch an employability program, as well as some guidance for
Q: Where should institutions start if they want to improve — or launch — a work readiness program?
A: The first step is to assess the range and effectiveness of current activities so that an institution can consider where potential gaps may exist in its current portfolio of activities. Every school is likely doing something, but the services may not be sufficiently integrated to drive optimal utilization, and it’s quite possible that more can be done.
If you want to have a more robust student employability program, ask yourself the following: What could be added to augment what we’re already doing to support students’ recognition of the link between career choice and major at orientation? How effectively do we link that activity to our first-year-experience program, student advising, and/or career services?
The next step is to conduct primary research with a variety of stakeholders — students, recent graduates, past graduates, and employers in particular. Then, evaluate how these different stakeholders perceive your institution’s strengths and weaknesses from an employability perspective. These two steps should provide the fundamental inputs to inform the development of an employability strategy and aid the institution in setting clear goals and benchmarks for success.
About Peter Stokes: As a Huron managing director, Stokes has worked with hundreds of institutions across the U.S. and globally to support their efforts of reaching new audiences and achieve compelling student outcomes through focusing on student work readiness and employability.Read More