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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School launched CareerWell in September 2020 to help Carolina graduate students prepare for the ‘future of work’.

This need for such preparation has transitioned from a distant consideration to an immediate priority as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn. As a result, governments, business associations, and educational institutions across the US are looking looking for answers to a key question: How will we retrain and future-proof our workers so they can withstand the shocks and stresses of future events?

Many leaders across the nation are increasingly calling for robust re-skilling and up-skilling of current and emerging workers on a national level to respond to this question. Such responses must include new holistic approaches to help students—especially graduate students—and workers develop strategic skills that will future-proof their careers in the current and post-pandemic labor market.

CareerWell Vision

Our vision is to empower current and emerging professionals across North Carolina to prepare for the future of work and future-proof their careers.

CareerWell Mission

Our mission is to prepare North Carolina students and professionals to demonstrate valuable business, digital, data, and other skills needed to heighten their job security and career advancement during—and following—the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through collaborations with companies, nonprofits, and government units, we are investing Carolina’s robust resources to enhance access to learning and to foster the career prosperity of our students and the citizens of North Carolina.

The result will be a new, sustainable model to enhance participants’ career success and fuel economic vitality in North Carolina.

CareerWell Program Features

Current and developing CareerWell features include:

  • Flexible courses, including online and in-person courses offered during afternoon and evening sessions.
  • Interdisciplinary team internships developed jointly with corporate and government partners.
  • Workshop and seminar series to support development of workplace skills in areas such as emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and inclusiveness.
  • Networking and site visits to help participants build professional connections and support their awareness of employer cultures.
  • Certificates and digital badges in the competency areas listed below.
  • Recruitment support, a talent exchange portal, and other services, which CareerWell staff will deploy to communicate job and internship openings and recruit students and program participants—on behalf of partnering companies—to apply for job and internship openings.

CareerWell features are designed in response to non-academic employer needs and led by professionals working in companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. We are leveraging our collaborations to establish interdisciplinary team internships, networking events, site visits, seminars, and workshops.

CareerWell will also include career counseling support and a talent exchange portal through the website, in which participants can post biographical sketches and resumes to be considered by talent recruiters from our partners. We will also work with our corporate and government partners to recruit CareerWell participants for internships and job openings at those organizations.

CareerWell Competency Areas

Leadership & Communication

Data & Digital Literacy

Mindfulness & Inclusiveness

Finance & Project Management

Creativity & Innovation

Interdisciplinary Teamwork

Research Commercialization

Technology Savviness

Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship

Market & Technology Evaluation

Beyond the strategic skills traditionally sought by employers (e.g., leadership, communication, project management, emotional intelligence), many of the skills people need to secure and retain employment during and after the pandemic are data and digital skills, including:

  • Applying technology to collect, analyze, and make decisions in response to data
  • Coding, web development, and digital marketing
  • Understanding concepts of transformative technologies (eg, artificial intelligence [AI], internet of things [IoT], big data, virtual/augmented reality [VR/AR]) for use in decision-making

Through collaborations with for-profit, nonprofit, and government partners, CareerWell will offer activities centered around training current and emerging workers to develop skills in key competency areas below, which represent the building blocks for workers to secure employment and advance their careers in a dynamic and digitized labor market.

Competency Area Description
Adaptability, Flexibility, and Collaboration Flexibly managing unusual circumstances for which no explicit instructions exist through collaborative efforts
Technology Savviness Understanding basic concepts of transformative technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence [AI] and machine learning [ML], internet of things [IoT], virtual reality)
Creativity and Innovation  Conceiving and implementing novel solutions for new and existing market needs
Entrepreneurship Establishing and positioning new business ventures within an existing organization or leading to a new corporate entity.
Data Literacy Analyzing data and making decisions in response to it
Digital and Coding Literacy Applying skills in coding, web development, and digital marketing
Interdisciplinary Team Leadership and Communication Communicating and collaborating with others who offer varying expertise and perspectives during team projects in which different team members take the lead at different moments
Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, and Inclusiveness Understanding and managing one’s emotions to relieve stress, communicate effectively, offer empathy, overcome challenges, defuse conflict, and otherwise engage others who may be excluded or marginalized
Project Management Applying principles and techniques to plan for individual and team projects and manage risk, stakeholder interests, team efforts, and time and cost considerations
Financial Accounting Applying concepts and instruments used in financial accounting, including basic financial statements (eg, balance sheets, income and cash flow statements), forecasting, and budgeting
Professional Communication Effectively communicating through written messaging (eg, emails, executive summaries, strategy documents) and presentations in the workplace
Product/Technology Commercialization Understanding methods of production, distribution, marketing, sales, customer support, and other key functions essential to achieve commercial success of new products, technologies, or services