NU’s New Career Readiness Initiative: Ready to Work on Day 1
After months of development, assessment, and refining, we are finally ready to announce the launch of Northwest University’s Career Readiness Initiative. For years, businesses of all kinds have struggled with the fact that some college graduates aren’t fully prepared to enter the workforce. New hires with this issue require extra onboarding, which takes up precious time and money. This is a major obstacle that can hamper the effectiveness of both business leaders and graduates. With the Career Readiness Initiative, we hope to eliminate this problem for any business seeking to hire one of NU’s alumni.
“I think Northwest University has a well-established track record of turning out students with a strong work ethic and great applicable skills,” said President Castleberry. “But last year, I decided the time had come to act even more intentionally to respond directly to employers, prepare students, and to help students market the hard and soft work skills they gain at Northwest. The faculty agreed with me, and we got busy making changes.”
With contributors from all across the university, work began on curriculum designed to equip students with everything they need for the workforce, including a way to communicate those skills to potential employers. In the near future, when a student graduates, he or she will be able to include endorsements on their resumés and CVs that will communicate to potential employers the exact skills that student possesses. An endorsement is earned by taking a series of two to four classes that contribute toward tangible, workplace skills such as “Conflict Management” or “Empathy.” In every single major at NU, skills are tailored to the industries our students are eager to join. The entire curriculum goes hand in hand with an emphasis on internships so that real-life experience can be gained before the first day in the office.
Local businesses are already excited about what this means for their hiring processes. Levi Davenport, NU’s director of Career Development and Corporate Relations, has been meeting with small and large businesses from the Seattle area for months. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. According to Levi, “Business owners and recruiters love to see that NU is equipping its students with quantifiable skills and certificates that students can include on their résumé. One business leader articulated that this initiative will ‘bridge the gap’ that employers are wanting to see in the competency and preparedness possessed by new hires graduating from a liberal arts institution. Every single individual in the focus groups thought that this initiative was imperative to create and include in the core curriculum at Northwest University.”
This important work aligns perfectly with Northwest University’s biblical understanding of work. “[The Career Readiness Initiative] will instill a strong understanding of the value and meaning of work: economically, personally, and theologically,” explained President Castleberry. “A religiously-informed work ethic has long been understood as a huge asset for employees and employers.”
We anticipate the impact of the Career Readiness Initiative with great expectation. Our hope is that graduates will feel more equipped and fulfilled in their work and that employers will receive valuable contributions from their new recruits faster than ever. The future is bright, and NU students are poised to make the most of it.