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March 10, 2006
The Institute on Public Service Careers (IPSC), a joint effort between the Office of Career Services at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Idealist.org, has been awarded the 2006 NACE/Chevron Award for Innovative Programs in Career Services. The award recognizes and honors a college member for the development of a groundbreaking program in the field. IPSC broadens and reframes the definition of public service work and increases the visibility and accessibility of these career paths to college students.
A 2003 survey of graduating college seniors, conducted by Paul Light of NYU Wagner and the Brookings Institution, found that 62% seriously considered public service careers, but only 44% said they knew a "great deal" or "fair amount" about finding a job in either government or a nonprofit. In the same survey, less than a quarter of students thought their college career services office was "very helpful" in connecting them to public service opportunities.
To overcome these challenges, NYU Wagner partnered with Action Without Borders/Idealist.org to design and implement the Institute on Public Service Careers, a two-day conference specifically designed for career service professionals.
The Institute's goal is to help undergraduate career counselors better understand public service careers and to integrate these options into their work with students. By providing tools, frameworks, and opportunities for small group discussion and individual planning, participants leave the conference with heightened awareness and confidence, and they are positioned to be active players around this issue both on campus and with their peers in career services.
The original IPSC conference was held in December, 2004 for 33 participants from colleges across the country. In a post conference survey, 100% of the attendees said it would be anywhere from "helpful" to "essential" to offer the training to other career services staff in another part of the country. As a result, NYU Wagner and Idealist received funding to conduct 5 regional events to take place by the end of 2006.
These regional trainings have already taken place in Portland, OR, Atlanta, GA and New York City. Future conferences are scheduled for Minneapolis, MN in June 2006, and a location in the southwest United States, this December. So far, the Institute on Public Service Careers has trained 103 career services professionals from 87 schools, and by the end of 2006, 150 people from 125 colleges are expected to have participated in the program.
Established in 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is the leading source of information on the employment of the college educated. The professional association connects more than 5,200 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide, and more than 3,000 HR/staffing professionals focused on college relations and recruiting.
The NACE/Chevron Award for Innovative Programs in Career Services is conferred on a merit basis. Entries are evaluated on their ability to be innovative by demonstrating a significant change or new methodology in programming/service delivery and/or by generating new information that can assist in the improvement or implementation of other institutions' services or programs; showing evidence of achieving stated objectives; being a usable model for other career services professionals; and making a significant contribution to the field.
David Schachter, NYU Wagner's assistant dean for career services and experiential learning, co-created the program with Rich Delaney, formerly of NYU Wagner's Partnership for Innovative Practice, and members of the Idealist.org staff.
"This was a true partnership with Idealist.org," said Schachter. "Both Wagner and Idealist take public service work seriously, it's not simply something to do while waiting for something better to come along. And we wanted to make the pathways to public service more visible and accessible to young adults. I'm honored that a national association, like NACE, has recognized the value of our efforts."