When the Graduate School launched Accelerate to Industry (A2i) in 2017 to help graduate students explore careers in industry, one of the program’s goals was to serve as a model for other universities that might want to adopt the program.
This week, that goal will be realized when 22 individuals representing 15 universities from across the United States and Canada gather at NC State to learn more about A2i and explore how they can implement the program on their own campuses. The group includes graduate school deans and assistant deans, as well as professional development leaders for graduate education. They will meet at Hunt Library June 12-14.
In 2017, the Graduate School officially launched A2i with its signature summer program, the Industry Immersion Week. During the program, 60 late-stage Ph.D. students, alumni and postdocs learn about career opportunities from industry professionals.
Why industry over academia? A recent article in Science magazine described that in the last 20 years, the percentage of Ph.D.s working in higher education (43%) has fallen to nearly equal with the percentage of Ph.D.s working in the private sector (42%). In 1997, the percentage of Ph.D.s working in academia was 11% higher than the percentage working in the private sector.
Joe Aldinger, director of A2i, described it as, “our home-grown program that NC State gives away to improve graduate education.” Aldinger and the Graduate School’s professional development team hope to hold an event each summer for partner A2i institutions, who will not have to pay NC State to use the program’s model.
A2i fits well with other Graduate School programs aimed at preparing students for a wide variety of careers, Aldinger said.
“The real goal of graduate education needs to be preparing students for any career path,” he said. “We have programs to address both the academic and the industry paths. We see the whole student.”