Making the transition from college student to young professional can be challenging even without the added pressure of internships, job-hunting, and career planning.
Starting this fall, every Johns Hopkins undergraduate on the university's Homewood campus will have access to a Homewood Career Center staff member specifically trained to help students explore their interests and find internships, research, or other experiences that lead to the career opportunities that are right for them.
More than a dozen Career Center staff members will be assigned to each of the academic departments—and the more than 50 majors—based at Homewood. The staff will establish new offices within those locations, allowing students to go directly from working in the engineering lab to having conversations about which companies or industries best match their engineering interests—without ever leaving the building.
"Starting early and creating moments to take action and chase inspiration are core to finding a fulfilling career for the rest of your life," says Farouk Dey, vice provost for integrative learning and life design, a role created last August to lead the university's efforts to ensure that students are able to connect their learning with their life's aspirations. "We're here to help students and faculty harness that."
The new nested Career Center structure will enable staff members to host office hours, work directly with faculty, train student leaders, and design events with program alumni. Career Center staff will receive major- and department-specific training, as well as life design training, giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to better advise students about career paths and experiences in related fields. Staff members will be able to provide job skill training and connect students with career programs and alumni employers.
First-year students will also have access to staff members at the Career Center who work with Residence Life and First-Year Experience, among other offices. The Career Center will continue to host its six industry-specific Career Academies for students looking at careers or passions outside of their major. As the academic year continues, more resources, physical spaces, and tools will be added to better help students find inspiration, make connections, and learn about opportunities that match their interests.
"We are returning career positions to the schools," says Ann Garner, executive director of the Homewood Career Center. "Having their own career staff is more holistic for departments and will better help us scale our work to serve all JHU students equitably."
The new structure was designed with the input of hundreds of students who attended Life Design dinners this fall. These students indicated that they find community in their majors and sometimes struggle to make connections between academics and careers. This spring, employees will conduct 90-day listening tours, meeting with faculty and students to develop individualized career-support programs for each major.