Giving Compass' Take:

• A grant from the Strada Education Network supports a program for colleges to collaborate on improving career services by identifying barriers for students entering the workforce. 

•  How can these colleges work with students to gain a deeper understanding of the access issues and struggles of finding employment?

• Here are four ways colleges can make career prep unavoidable for students. 

Seven universities will share experiences and collaborate on ways to improve career services for low-income and first-generation students, supported by a new $2.4 million grant from Strada Education Network.

The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) members — Arizona State, Georgia State, Ohio State, Oregon State and Purdue universities, as well as the University of Central Florida and the University of California, Riverside — will review barriers on each campus facing students as they move through college and into the workforce, and will report on successful approaches.

The UIA initiative takes shape in the midst of growing awareness that helping students explore careers, develop a pathway to one and make the transition to the right job has been undervalued in higher education.

Fewer than half of college students use the career services available to them through their college, according to one report. Yet recent research from the Brookings Institution on community college students indicates that not only do they need more support with career readiness, but also that they will perform better if they get it.

Immersive learning experiences and opportunities to preview what employment in a particular profession entails can also be helpful in giving students hands-on opportunities to connect their education to their future career.

Read the full article about collaborating to improve career services by James Paterson at Education Dive