The University of Arizona

Career Readiness – It’s What We Do

According to business leaders and employers, new college graduates just aren’t ready for the job.

Today, only 1 out of 3 business leaders agree colleges and universities graduate students with the skills and competencies that their business needs, according to a 2014 Gallup report. Students don’t feel they’re prepared either. Nationally, just 1 out of 3 college students say they’re prepared to enter the job market.

But at the University of Arizona, workforce readiness and career success are what the institution does best. For the past two years, 9 out of 10 employers have rated UA candidates as having the skills/abilities to be effective on the job. In addition, 85 percent of employers have rated UA candidates as good/excellent compared to others campuses where they recruit.

Under the UA’s new national model for student career preparation, students acquire the in-demand skills employers look for, including soft skills such as creativity, analytical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and adaptability. These skills produce versatile, flexible workers that are prepared to transition to new careers in today’s ever-changing job market. 

Engagement Outcomes

In just its second year, the UA’s signature 100% Engagement Initiative has already impacted the lives of over 6,000 UA students and graduates. Data shows students who graduated with an engagement course or utilized career offerings earned on average 14 percent more (approximately $7,500) in starting salaries than peers who did not. In addition, engaged students were more likely to be accepted into graduate school, find employment, and work in a field related to their career interests. Since 2015, students have completed over 7,500 engagement experiences. 

Office of Student Engagement and Career Development (OSECD)

The new Office of Student Engagement and Career Development (OSECD) combines engagement, career, leadership, and applied learning experiences into a single unit, housing everything students need to find career success. As a result, students’ access to career offerings are less transactional and Wildcats are connected to job opportunities earlier and more effectively. This year, OSECD was featured in a special report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its leading success in career readiness, engaged learning, and transferrable soft skills. 

Enhancing Student Marketability

The UA have also integrated innovative opportunities for students to acquire hard skills in areas of high market demand. For example, Fast Track: Digital Marketing and Fast Track: Adobe Creative Cloud provide stackable, highly-focused courses that allow all students, including growing numbers of non-traditional learners, to gain the hands-on, real-world experiences that they need to thrive in the workforce. This year, the UA also became the first Adobe Creative Campus in the West, providing its student body with free access to tools for next-gen jobs, including Photoshop, Spark, and Illustrator.

As a result of this new model of career preparation, Spring 2017 grads are already contributing to Arizona’s workforce and thriving in job and career markets. 7 out of 10 Wildcats report they are already employed or attending graduate/professional programs.