When graduates leave your institution, they need to be prepared to enter the workforce. Unfortunately, according to a Gallup poll1, just 13% of those hiring say your graduates are ready.

Although almost everyone (96%) believe that a college education is necessary, nearly 9 out of 10 don’t believe that the education students receive is getting them the desired outcome – a good job.

Offering career readiness, in the form of real-world work experience and projects solving real-world, problems is a start. Doing so will help students develop the skills they need for success and translate their education into appropriate employment opportunities. 

Defining Career Readiness

Career readiness is simply the act of preparing students for employment.

It constitutes the sustainable skills students need for their first job as well as the jobs they will have in the future.

These are skills that allow students to adapt to ever-changing needs and advances so they can evolve and upskill.

Students who are “career ready” have practical skills that are needed in today’s jobs. These include soft skills like:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Confidence
  • Enthusiasm
  • Growth mindset
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Networking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Work ethic
  • Stress management
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Financial literacy

Additionally, students need more internships, apprenticeships, co-ops, long-term projects, mentorships, and part-time employment to provide hands-on training and coaching in the skills specific to their industry.

Why Career Readiness Matters to Higher Education

Providing job readiness to students will allow them to be successful upon graduation. Not only does this provide them with the ability to find happiness and thrive, but it also creates a productive workforce for a robust economy, and provides graduates with a return on investment for their time and money spent on your institution.

All of this affects your bottom line as a university.

  • Graduation Rate: Colleges and universities have found that about one-third of those who start a 4-year college, never finish2. Studies also show that students who feel they are being adequately prepared for a career are less likely to drop out of school. Keep in mind that prospective students often check graduation rates and the number of years for degree completion when choosing a school. This means that as graduation rates decline, so does enrollment.
  • Medical and Mental Health Costs: Students who stress about the cost of college and their ability to get a job after graduation often have poor physical and mental health. Studies show that students with financial stress lose sleep, abuse substances, overeat, and participate in other unhealthy activities. This leads to an increased need for physical and mental health care from campus facilities, which leads to increased operating costs.
  • Boosting Alumni Contributions: Alumni who love their college experience and have higher earning power are far more likely to donate to their college3 than someone who did not graduate or did not have a good experience. Students who find good jobs after graduation are more likely to remember their school in a good light. Additionally, alumni contributions are one of the factors that determine college ranking by the US News and World Report. Finally, the number and size of alumni contributions is a strong indicator of major donations and planned gifts. 

Your Students Are Counting On You

Colleges and universities must work to create career-ready graduates. iGrad has a program that will help your students gain the financial literacy they need to not only be career-ready, but life-ready. 

Our holistic financial wellness program teaches students everything from basic budgeting to investing.

Taking these courses can help students determine how much student debt is appropriate for their desired course of study, helping to keep stress about loan repayment at bay.

Interactive assessments will teach students how they view and interact with financial concepts and help them develop the skills needed to make strong financial decisions in the future.

Adding a student financial wellness component to your career readiness program can make a difference in the lives of your students – today and for the rest of their lives. 


1 - https://news.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/182867/america-no-confidence-vote-college-grads-work-readiness.aspx

2 - https://www.collegeatlas.org/college-dropout.html

3 - https://www.alumnifactor.com/node/5854