Accelerate to Industry (A2i) at Illinois State University
A2i is a program pioneered by North Carolina State University and focuses on workforce readiness development for Graduate Students. It includes a series of modules to help Graduate Students to explore their career opportunities and transition into leadership positions. Participating students will gain skills, knowledge and abilities that are highly sought after in an industry environment and have the possibility to directly learn from industry representatives.
The Graduate School is partnering with leading industries in the region to allow our students to gain firsthand experience and information. The program includes five modules that are designed to provide individual learning experiences and bring motivated Graduate Students and industry representatives together.
The program is intended to:
- Increase awareness of career options by exposing students to the wide range of industry careers
- Assist students to acquire and demonstrate competencies necessary for leadership positions in a corporate environment
- Help students translate their educational experiences into fulfilling careers.
Job Search Strategies
The Job Search Strategies Module is comprised of multiple sessions, led by hiring professionals from our industry partners. It aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the available career opportunities and the necessary skills to transition into industry leadership positions.
The Company Site Visits are geared toward engagement between potential candidates and professionals from industry partner organizations. A typical site visit consists of a company presentation, an employee panel Q&A, a networking opportunity, and an office space/lab tour. Site visits can help build interest in companies, raise awareness of how company missions resonate with potential applicants and provide an opportunity to discuss available openings and explain recruiting timelines.
The internship opportunities are dependent on the industry partner needs and alignment with participating students. Timeframe and exact criteria are individualized to our students and partner’s needs. The internship enables participating students to evaluate prospective companies and provide valuable practical experiences.
The Industry Team Practicum module is designed to recruit four-to-five students per team from various disciplines to work on a project defined by the industry partners. It aims to increase the ability of participants to work with cross-functional operators and to develop relevant skillsets that would enhance their ability to secure industry jobs that they desire.
The Immersion Week contains a number of events such as industry presentations and workshops. The content for this module is created through collaborations with industry partners to support our student’s professional development needs. Activities are aimed at a concentrated learning and development experience that includes:
- Company meet and greets
- Team-based projects
- Resume and LinkedIn feedback sessions
- Networking sessions
A2i is open to Master and Doctoral students from all schools and departments at ISU. Each year, a cohort of 25 students will participate in the program and also represent ISU at events with partner universities on a national level. The application form will be available here shortly.