FirstGen Career Readiness in the Classroom:
Resources from the Fall FirstGen Faculty Forum
By Carolyn Thomas
It was sobering to learn that upwards of 50% of our students graduate without having a job in place; the percentage is higher for low-income, underrepresented, and first gen students. With a recent study finding that most college grads who start out underemployed remain there, it's important for all of our students to be better prepared for employment upon graduation.
While UC Davis offers excellent career resources, many of our students have never talked to a counselor or attended a job fair by the time they graduate. First gen students are less likely than others to know to go to the Internship and Career Center, career fairs, or advisors to prepare themselves while they’re getting their degrees for careers that can come next.
But every student needs to go to class, and every student needs to be able to connect what they've learned in the classroom to their future goals. Recognizing that first gen faculty know how compelling the issue of career readiness is, our fall forum focused on how faculty can integrate career readiness in the classroom.
Can your students articulate what they learned in the classroom to potential employers? Including a discussion of “academic integration,” or how in-class skills translate to the outside world, in your classes is important to helping our students understand how our classes are preparing them to be well-qualified for post-graduation careers. Your classroom may be a great place for occasional career thinking. With that in mind, here are some resources to support academic integration of career preparedness.
Classroom Resources that foster career readiness
Problem- and Project-based learning as classroom-based activities that help students build skills employers increasingly are looking for:
- This AAC&U article: Employers Express Confidence in Colleges and Universities, Endorse Applied and Project-Based Learning as the Best Preparation for Career Opportunity and Long-Term Success
- An AAC&U case study on the relationship between project-based learning and skills that students can use in the workplace
- UC Davis Professor Joe Anistranski (Human Ecology) wrote about problem-based learning in his high-enrollment classes in the August Reflective Teaching Blog Post and discusses 21st century skills as a promise of problem-based learning
- An overview of problem-based learning:
- An explanation of the difference between Problem- and Project-based Learning
Peer Instruction: a cross-disciplinary teaching practice that can be implemented in the classroom to prepare students for careers in academia and the world of work.
- Harvard Magazine on peer instruction
- Eric Mazur video interview on Peer Instruction:
- Peer-Instruction / Jigsaw Reading - an activity which gives students practice articulating to their peers.
What employers are looking for, and how we can help articulate to students that we are, in fact, teaching them these things in our classes
- This NACE report on the four competencies employers value most in college graduates
- Fortune Magazine's list of what employers want from the class of 2019
- A career readiness reflection document from the Internship and Career Center that links skills strongly connected to post-graduation employment to activities/learning approaches you might use in your classes
Outside-the-classroom things students can do to be better able to land jobs they want after graduation
- Kem Saichaie, Center for Educational Effectiveness
- Marcie Kirk Holland, Internship and Career Center