UTEP Launches Inaugural Institute to Boost Career Readiness
Last Updated on October 14, 2020 at 2:00 PM
Originally published October 14, 2020
By Christina Rodriguez
Career opportunities for students at The University of Texas at El Paso will be enhanced with the introduction of the campus’ Employer-led Professional Development Institute (EPDI). The institute will provide students with opportunities to gain valuable professional insights and skills while interacting with more than a dozen global and local employers.
The EPDI is one of the initiatives and programs available to UTEP students through funding by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A team of faculty and staff led by Laura Uribarri, assistant dean of the College of Business Administration, designed the institute to provide UTEP students an opportunity to develop career readiness for internships and full-time career possibilities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the silver linings of this difficult period we are in is that we have everyone much more comfortable with virtual engagements and, as a result, we are able to pull together this month-long program with companies and organizations from all over the country,” Uribarri said. “These employers are excited to work with our students and help them to grow and develop those critical skills they need to be competitive, to secure an internship, or to launch their careers.”
The institute is for undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines who are interested in hearing what employers are looking for in their new hires. It will also give participants the tools they need to hone professional skills that will help them be successful in virtual work environments. Participating employers include Amazon, Oracle, Helen of Troy, PwC, FBI, Prudential and the City of El Paso, among others.
The EPDI aims for participating students to gain a competitive edge by obtaining internships and full-time employment; expanding their network of local and national employers, faculty mentors, and students; learning techniques for standing out in the virtual marketplace; building their brand to get their professional and academic experience noticed; and exploring diverse areas within the public and private workforce.
The first EPDI will run from Oct. 16 through Nov. 20, 2020. The inaugural cohort of 300 students reached full capacity within hours of the program’s announcement to the campus community. Participants will be required to attend eight professional development sessions of their choice and will receive a $200 award. Students can earn an additional $100 by participating in four institute engagement activities.
“It is our hope that through the institute, students walk away with valuable, actionable insights that they take directly from the employers,” Uribarri said. “We hope they are able to think about how they are able to incorporate the skills they learn to make themselves more marketable and better prepared to launch into any career path.”
The EPDI launches with its first cohort of students on Friday, Oct. 16. Additional institutes are scheduled for spring 2021. For more information on the program, visit https://www.utep.edu/employer-led-institute/.