As we begin the 2017-18 academic year, we are pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Early Career Communities, an initiative designed to create innovative pathways and experiential learning settings for students to take meaningful steps in their career preparation, leveraging the power of cohorts, networks, and communities in the process of becoming professionals.

The Early Career Communities (ECC) team serves to offer groundbreaking experiential learning and research-based programs through our core initiatives. Our work takes into account the dynamic nature of context while learning content; the balance of inspiration and aspiration; and the impact of identity in furthering one’s sense of agency, authority and mastery.  We view the ECC framework as one in which we invite more individuals to the Illinois Tech community to co-create purposeful, mindful, successful, engaged, and fulfilling lives, leaving strong legacies we have built together.

The ECC team recognizes the complete arc of student development, focusing on the overlooked yet essential early stages of career preparation. Developing a sense of self within the world of work, and making deliberate plans to pursue professional experiences before graduation, are critical to the job placement of students upon completing their studies. It is in communities, rather than in isolation, that this work will be most successful.

Within the office of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives, the Early Career Communities team supports higher education access and subsequent success, furthering the University’s Mission and Vision through a diverse and comprehensive suite of services. Highlights of these services include:

  • First- and Second-Year Undergraduate Programming equips Illinois Tech students to plan for their careers by embedding programming and services into student communities. Through inter-departmental partnerships with staff and faculty, we support conversations around career development that begin before students even set foot on campus. These initiatives begin this academic year.
  • FastForward to Illinois Tech engages a significant and growing demographic – those who start their post-secondary education at a community college – with life at Illinois Tech. In collaboration with Illinois Tech Undergraduate Admissions, FastForward offers prospective students the benefit of community immersion within Illinois Tech.  Access to FastForward increases participants’ undergraduate enrollment, facilitates transfer students’ smooth transitions to bachelor’s and co-terminal degree programs, and supports students’ persistence and graduation. This program began its pilot in 2016.
  • The Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program brings together a diverse consortium of Chicago’s brightest and most promising young minds, providing them with depth and breadth of enrichment and sustained access to Illinois Tech’s campus and community. Every year, hundreds of counselors and educators share about the opportunities provided by GLP, bringing Illinois Tech to the forefront as students begin considering their post-secondary options. By offering the Global Leaders Program, Illinois Tech places itself as a unique voice in national conversations, and it demonstrates the university’s commitment to our neighboring communities and to the city of Chicago. This program has been ongoing since 2011.

To learn more about the innovative Early Career Communities initiatives and framework, please contact us; we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from colleagues from across campus, Chicago, and beyond.

Annie Littrell Senior
Director, Early Career Communities

Gerald Doyle
Vice Provost, Office of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives

Introducing Early Career Communities
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