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The summer is typically marked by taking time off from college classes, but a hand-selected group of Tuskegee University faculty and staff are entering the classroom for an intensive training program that will certify them as Certified Career Services Providers (CCSP).
In a higher education setting, the CCSP credential prepares faculty and staff to better mentor students as they guide students in connecting academic and co-curricular opportunities with their professional goals.
“Dating back to the philosophy of founding president Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee has maintained a legacy of preparing students for a vocation — not just awarding a degree,” said Interim Provost Carla Jackson Bell. “Through this training, our faculty and staff will help students translate and articulate their classroom experiences into tangible, transferable skills sought after by today’s highly competitive workforce.”
Providing students with certified career advisers is a component of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan — “Road from Early Achievement to a Career High,” or “REACH” — which was implemented as part of Tuskegee’s 2018 reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The CCSP training program and other programs under the REACH umbrella and funded in part by U.S. Department of Education Title III funds take a comprehensive approach to preparing students to be equipped and successful as they pursue their educational and career goals.
“Our Quality Enhancement Plan is a comprehensive approach to readying our students for the rigorous demands of today’s contemporary workplace,” said Dr. Maria Calhoun, who in addition to serving as an associate professor of mechanical engineering co-directs the university’s QEP program. “Adding the CCSP credential to our career readiness programs will give our students a competitive employment edge to pair with our rigorous academic programs and the high regard held for a Tuskegee University degree.”
More than 30 faculty and staff — selected by university administrators and deans — will form Tuskegee’s initial credentialed cohort. The credential, administered by the National Career Development Association, includes 120 hours of total training time, which due to the pandemic, will be facilitated virtually. Upon their credentialing, current and future cohorts will be known as the university’s “REACH Faculty Career Advisers.”
CCSP training topics align with the competencies required of NCDA’s U.S. Facilitating Career Development curriculum. They range from understanding the expectations and operating conditions of today’s labor market to counseling students on how to identify their career aptitudes and enhance their marketability to hiring managers.
“Tuskegee’s commitment to creating informed practices for delivery of career development initiatives has always been an essential element of our students’ professional development— underscoring the importance of career education and leadership development to their overall success,” explained Dr. Kimberly Scott, vice president for student affairs. “Partnering with the REACH QEP to operationalize career readiness programs across the curriculum will further prepare our students for their chosen careers and further advance the return on investment in the Tuskegee University education.”
Although the initial cohort includes employees, the program — like the REACH initiative itself — will grow to include subject-matter experts among Tuskegee’s alumni and the university’s many industry partners.
“Our REACH Faculty Career Advisers will provide the initial framework, but we look forward to engaging alumni and professionals in preparing our students for the challenges of the ‘real world,’” explained Dr. Kellei Bishop Samuels, whose role as the university’s SACSCOC liaison included conceptualizing and now implementing the REACH Quality Enhancement Plan as a QEP co-director. “Exposing our students to leaders in their chosen professions in concert with their academic studies will further equip them to achieve their ‘career high.’”
Those credentialed will not just work to advise students nearing graduation and with their sights on a soon-to-be-had job.
“This program will benefit students throughout their entire lifecycle as a Tuskegee student,” explained Joseph Montgomery, vice president for enrollment management and student success. “Of course, it will help students transitioning from college to career, but incoming students will benefit from our advisers’ guidance as early as their initial semester in college.”
Montgomery indicated that throughout their academic journey, students will receive coaching and mentoring from REACH Faculty Career Advisers, with a holistic approach to how they select courses, pursue appropriate co-curricular activities and apply for applicable internships that will maximize opportunities for career success.
For more information about the Certified Career Services Provider credential, visit https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/credentials_ccsp.
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