Preparing UR for the Future of Work

University of Rochester — Goal 1 Initiative Preparing UR for the Future of Work

COVID-19 created turmoil in the job market and challenges to graduating students not seen since the Great Recession of 2008–09. The pandemic meant an abrupt end to the campus experience for the class of 2020 and continued disruption for subsequent classes which poses a potential threat to their immediate employment futures. Preparing UR for the Future of Work is an initiative critical to “leveling up” our career education ecosystem to meet the challenges facing the University of Rochester in preparing students for the future of work and responding to COVID.

Focusing on key populations (i.e., BIPOC, First Generation, Graduate and professional students), the University is aiming to enhance integrated career education programs, reduce social capital and financial barriers for students, offer future of work skill development, and connect students with local organizations. Integrating into the academic and co-curricular is the primary goal, further embedding career preparation into the student and alumni experience. These efforts will be supported by the Together for Rochester (TFR) fundraising and engagement campaign, a special one-year initiative to make life better for the University of Rochester community.

The COVID-19 pandemic, by necessity, made us think differently about how we prepare our students for the future of work, and how we connect them to mentors, employers, and careers. What we’ve learned will inform our approaches, even in a post-pandemic world.

Sarah Mangelsdorf, University of Rochester

Initiative Differentiators

Our initiative serves as an enhancement of the trajectory we were on and also a response to what has been accelerated by the pandemic. By engaging faculty, alumni, parents, our community and employers we will develop an integrated career education program for all degree students. Preparing UR for the Future of Work can and should serve a role in making career education a central, strategic priority and establish UR as an institution that places the future of work and life design alongside its academic mission.

Key Interventions and Milestones

The timeframes for specific interventions will be varied based on scope and scale as we integrate them across academic programs. After pilots and prototypes are deployed, analysis will take place in order to scale efforts further.

Expected Impact

Preparing UR for the Future of Work main interventions are designed to help students and graduates find internships and jobs. Our objective is for over 95% positive outcomes for undergraduates within 9 mo. of graduation with particular focus on BIPOC and first- generation populations. In addition, we aim to drive increased alumni career volunteers, increased organizations recruiting students virtually, and 750 internship and job sourced through volunteers (2020-2021)