Integrating Academic Maps with Career Milestones Corresponds with Increases in Student Internships, Full-Time Jobs and Starting Salaries Expansion Will Double Number of Participating Departments to 50 and Reach 25,000 Students

The City University of New York today announced on Monday that it received $700,000 from Robin Hood to fund a multi-campus expansion of the school’s groundbreaking initiative to integrate career milestones into academic degree maps. These degree-career maps enable undergraduates to identify careers that align with their chosen major, understand professional milestones needed to pursue them and highlight critical opportunities for paid internships, apprenticeships and full-time jobs.

Already, 20 departments have begun to add career milestones alongside course requirements on academic maps, many with tremendous success. At the College of Staten Island, for example, over the three years since its map was created, students in the computer science department experienced correlated increases of 43% in internship participation, of 144% in the number of full-time jobs secured upon graduation and of 34% in starting salaries over prior baseline figures. 

“As our students navigate their way through college, many as the first in their families to do so, it is essential to connect their college studies to career goals,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We know that higher education isn’t just about what students learn in the classroom, but about how they demonstrate their knowledge and prepare for their professional future. We are grateful to Robin Hood for recognizing that this connection requires resources for colleges and for funding this important work to make sure our graduates thrive after they leave campus.”

“CUNY is one of New York City’s shining stars and a true driver of opportunity. It has long served as a springboard into the middle class, putting low-income and first-generation college students on pathways to upward mobility and transforming their lives. That’s why we’ve invested more than $68 million in strengthening the CUNY system since 1988,” said Richard R. Buery Jr., CEO of Robin Hood, New York City’s largest local poverty-fighting philanthropy. “We are confident that our latest investment, expanding CUNY’s career mapping initiative, will expand that legacy of impact. The initiative will open doors to opportunity, helping 25,000 students secure internships, jobs, and more competitive salaries. Every time a CUNY graduate succeeds, New York City wins. We are proud to stand with CUNY to support our workforce and ensure New York City remains globally competitive.”

Robin Hood’s funding will allow CUNY to develop and provide roadmaps across 50 academic departments – up from 20 – that will serve 25,000 students by Fall 2024.

Caption: Example of degree-career map for the computer science bachelor’s degree program at CSI, showing a list of career goals alongside required academic coursework.

Leveraging Classroom Intervention

Studies show that paid internships can increase earnings after graduation – even when accounting for differences in pay based on the field of study, gender and race/ethnicity. However, with over 50% of CUNY students working and contending with other life obligations outside the classroom, just 25% of CUNY students currently utilize career services. Career-infused degree maps address this by integrating career information into advising and academic touchpoints where students most consistently interface with faculty and staff.

Support from Robin Hood will allow CUNY to not only expand the initiative, but also to refine it. Engaging partners like the New York Jobs CEO Council, the University will work with academic departments to ensure maps align with coursework and careers, including those across New York City’s leading industries, such as software engineering and data analysis.

Expanding the Classroom-to-Career Pipeline 

Career mapping is part of the larger Careers Across the Disciplines initiative, an ongoing effort to advance the University’s mission of upward mobility. In its strategic roadmap, a detailed plan to bolster the school’s impact on New York by 2030, CUNY committed to increasing the number of graduates able to find meaningful employment at competitive wages.

To aid this effort, CUNY is working with employers, philanthropic partners and policymakers to enable students to identify careers that align with their interests. Most recently, CUNY launched the Inclusive Economy Initiative, a public-private initiative designed to facilitate connections between industry and students. Beginning with a $13 million investment from New York City and over $3 million in private support, the Inclusive Economy Initiative will make it easier for businesses to connect with CUNY students and for students to connect with sustainable careers in rapidly growing fields like healthcare, technology and green energy.

The University has also worked to grow its ties with private sector employers like Amazon, whose recently unveiled New York Tech Hub will provide class and event space for CUNY’s 25 colleges, and Google, whose CUNY Tech Equity Initiative will give students increased access to career resources and paid internship opportunities.

– Story courtesy of CUNY Media Relations