How Experiential Learning Methods Can Boost University Employability Rankings for Enrollment Success

Today’s higher education landscape faces the dual challenge of attracting and preparing students for a dynamic job market. The Salesforce Connected Student Report indicates that while nearly half of students choose institutions for career prospects, only 11% feel adequately prepared for work. To address this, our report 'Unlocking Career Readiness' draws insights from 700+ remote internship intern-supervisor pairings. This research delves into the future-proof competencies and offers strategies for your institutions to align academia with the workforce needs.

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Aligning Academia With Industry Expectations

The NACE Job Outlook 2023 report highlights a disconnect between employer requirements and graduate skills. Amidst the growing presence of automation and technology, companies prioritize soft skills, noting a lack of these in recent graduates. Our research, based on 700+ intern-employer pairings, showcases post-internship improvements in soft skills. Notably, supervisors rated interns highly competent in critical thinking, rising from 75% to 94%, surpassing interns’ self-assessments that increased from 57% to 85%.


Remote Structured Internships = Bridging Employability Gap In Higher Education

Our findings underscore the link between integrated experiential learning and enhanced employability. The Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center attribute 85% of job success to well-developed soft skills. Remote internships significantly narrow the gap between learners’ self-perceived competence and employer assessments with about 80% of interns noticing improvements across four or more career readiness competencies. This finding demonstrates the potential of experiential learning to align academic offerings with workforce expectations.


Widening Access For Both Traditional and Non-Traditional Learners

The paper addresses the obstacles faced by nearly 65% of non-interns in securing internship placements due to availability and accessibility issues. Integrating remote internships into academic curricula breaks geographical barriers, granting access to learners from diverse backgrounds. Jocelyn, a first-generation student from Bridgewater State University, found herself juggling multiple commitments while trying to gain real-world experience to prepare for the future of work. Through the help of Virtual Internships and her university, Jocelyn managed to find her first step into the professional world. This global experience was proved to set her up for what's next.

Our "Unlocking Career Readiness" report provides insights into career readiness competencies and how structured work-based learning programs can boost employability. Integrating these programs into your academic offerings ensures your curriculum aligns with skills-based hiring trends, meeting both student and employer expectations.

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