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As a recipient of the CIC/Walmart College Success Award, Woodbury University has implemented its Integrating Career Development program into the academic curriculum program in order to help first-generation business students make connections between their academic learning and career goals. The awarded funds allowed the university to hire a career counselor to serve the target population and to implement the program.

The director of career development, along with the career counselor, worked closely with School of Business faculty members to integrate a career development component into selected courses required for business majors. A career component was added to the Management 100 course and covered such topics as introduction to careers in business, career exploration, self-assessment, and job search preparation. Subsequently, this component was moved into an out-of-class “lab setting” where three workshops were offered.
Students in the Marketing 301 course, typically taken by sophomores, also were required to participate in three workshops related to career planning. In these sessions topics included personal branding/marketing, informational interviewing, researching internship opportunities, interview preparation, and resume support.
The career counselors also conducted half-hour introductory appointments with all incoming first-year students.
The two main goals for the program were to increase career awareness among first-generation business students, including increased knowledge of careers, knowledge of job search strategies, clarification of career goals, and motivation to pursue a career; and to help first-generation students connect their course work to their career choice, leading to increased retention as a result of enhanced motivation to pursue a career.

Program Outcomes

The program confirmed that first-generation students in business (the targeted campus population) were positively affected by career development programming early in their college experience. One goal was increased retention, and rates for first-generation students who participated in the program were slightly higher than first-generation students who did not participate. Similarly, students completing the program indicated moderate to high levels of change with regard to career awareness, knowledge, skills, and motivation. The program brought attention to the importance of career development programming for all first-year students.

Program Updates

Recommendations were made, based on the experience with the CIC/Walmart Award project, to establish a four-year career development program as well as a one-credit career development course.