Jun 18, 2021 | Atlanta, GA
The Career Alliance @ Georgia Tech is a new initiative that provides students with focused support for success in today's competitive job market. The program assists traditionally underrepresented students who disproportionately have not received sustained career preparation. It also supports those who have faced historical institutional barriers that have hindered their full preparation for career success.
The Alliance hosted an inaugural three-week Career Immersion Summer Residential Program from May 16 to June 5. Hosted by the Georgia Tech Career Center and Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED), the campus welcomed 24 student participants for an on-campus experience full of professional development workshops, interview and branding courses, and off-campus experiential learning opportunities such as internships, co-ops, shadowing apprenticeships, and student assistantships. Participants also received one-on-one career coaching and mentoring from corporate partners to assist them with identifying ways to align their passions with their majors and desired career paths. Part of the sponsorship for the immersion program came from an OMED grant awarded by the P&G Higher Education Grant Program.
“The ideation behind the Career Alliance and its immersion program emerged from different anchors, yet converged strategically to launch an innovative, equity-focused, student data-driven initiative,” said Sybrina Atwaters, OMED director. “It not only brought together faculty, staff, and students, but also alumni, corporate leaders, and vendors from more than eight Georgia Tech units, 16 companies, three Tech alumni affinity groups, and seven local businesses. The immersion program is a notable example of how units at Georgia Tech align to champion collaboration in serving all students equitably while meeting institutional goals.”
The Career Alliance was launched in spring 2021, inspired through Georgia Tech's participation in the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity where 38 academic institutions across the nation have been collaborating to prepare the nation’s “most vulnerable college students for success and stability in the post-Covid-19 pandemic economy.” The Taskforce represents 2.5 million students at two-year and four-year public and private institutions including The University of California, Los Angeles; The University of Oregon; Virginia Tech; and Atlanta's Spelman College.
Sonia Alvarez-Robinson, executive director of Georgia Tech Strategic Consulting, serves as Georgia Tech's Taskforce representative. She, along with Atwaters and James Barricelli, executive director of the Career Center, form the Career Alliance's steering committee.
“I am the first in my family to attend college and enter into a skilled-career field,” said rising third-year student Jose Luis Miranda-Hernandez, an architecture major. “The Summer Residential Program has elevated and prepared me. I now feel confident in my abilities to communicate, network, self-advocate, and grow as a student and future professional.”
Participant Malina Hy, an industrial engineering and neuroscience major, said, “Coming into the program, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I needed to learn how to navigate the real world — and fast, since I'll be a fourth-year student this fall.
“This program was more than just workshops, networking, and mentorships,” Hy continued. “While we learned the hard skills of how to build a resume and prepare for interviews, we also learned how to be inclusive, curious, and resilient.”
Markyta Holton, OMED program and operations manager, added, “The foundation of the immersion program was pinned on building the mind, beliefs, and skill sets of each student individually, and connecting them to opportunities that will become the foundation of their careers. This first cohort not only developed workforce development skills, but they also created lifelong bonds with each other, their mentors, Georgia Tech alumni, and various community partners.”
The Career Immersion Summer Residential Program capped with an event at the Georgia Tech Hotel featuring reflections from participants and corporate leaders, and an awards presentation by Holton and peer-career student leaders Bijee Jackson and Vinez Lyde. The evening also included remarks by Alvarez-Robinson, Atwaters, and Tech President Ángel Cabrera.
The Career Alliance @ Georgia Tech will continue through 2023 and will measure participant progress after completion.
For more information, visit omed.gatech.edu/career-alliance-georgia-tech.