First-generation college students make up approximately one-third of MiraCosta’s enrollment. Students from underserved backgrounds, college officials point out, often have not had the opportunity to develop the networking enabling them to obtain career advice from a trusted source. As a result, they can enter the workplace with no idea how to get beyond an entry-level position. Mentors also provide the kind of feedback that can help a student craft a college experience that leads to a successful career.
The new program is the brainchild of business professors Christina Sharp and Annie Ngo, who began working on the initiative nearly a year ago and who were supported by a grant from the California Community Colleges’ Strong Workforce Program. The two met weekly in the spring to develop the program, define goals and objectives, and craft strategies to find the best mentors. Coursework is in the process of being finalized this summer.
“We see this as an effective tool to help students find their path and stay on their path in getting them to their goals and their career,” Ngo said. “It’s a great way to get them engaged.”
Interested students are asked to write a personal statement, their career and educational goals, a vision of the ideal mentor, and their hopes for the mentorship experience. Those taking part in the program will enroll in a one-unit career mentoring course that meets once a month during the semester. The first class will cover tips on maintaining successful career mentoring relationships; students will be paired with a mentor during the second class.
Ngo said she expects up to 30 students to participate in the program this year. Students and potential mentors interested in the new program can contact Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ngo at email@example.com.