RAPID CITY, S.D. (March 20, 2013) – In today’s fast-paced world, companies expect graduates to hit the ground running. The newly-created South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Mines Advantage program aims to give them an edge.
With universities touting internships and cooperative education opportunities, starting salaries and placement rates, competition for careers is fierce. But Mines Advantage has developed an innovative approach to separate students from the pack. In addition to offering companies students with technical experience, it gives employers what they really want: a professional.
A program of distinction, Mines Advantage fosters “personal development on a professional level,” combining the classroom’s technical expertise with real-world vocational knowledge.
Students are led through a panorama of professional development experiences in six areas of competency, challenged to stretch their education in imaginative ways that blur boundaries among curriculum, community, campus life and career. Students completing the Mines Advantage program will have 30 different experiences of their choosing, two core requirements and three electives in each area.
Some experiences are expected: career preparation through internships and interviews, leadership and teamwork.
Others are more surprising. A cultural and global diversity tenet urges students to attend a cultural event and immerse themselves in a diversity or social justice program, as well as choose among a breadth of other electives, such as visiting a sacred or multicultural site or participating in an international design team. In an increasingly globalized world run by a diversified workforce, this cultural exposure and awareness has never been more important.
And as this world becomes ever smaller, the importance of communication grows, mandating students move easily from the laboratory to the lectern. Mines Advantage prepares them through professional presentations or sharpens their skills through memoranda that convey technical information to nontechnical audiences. Students may also gain social media savvy by building their LinkedIn profile or verbal versatility as they host a radio show or work as a journalist for the Aurum, the school paper.
Mines Advantage also challenges students to not only be successful, but significant, meaningfully contributing to the community around them through civic duty, community service and sustainable design– and to discover a balanced and purposeful life along the way. Through personal development requirements and electives, students learn to manage personal affairs, explore ethical practices, develop their identity and lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
The program also aims to delve beyond action into reflection, compelling students to synthesize their experiences, knowledge and expertise into a short composition after each activity or event.
Upon completion of Mines Advantage, students will receive a certificate, among other recognitions and incentives throughout the program. And the real boon comes when their career is launched into the stratosphere.
Proof of the value of a Mines education is already in the numbers, with graduates enjoying an average starting salary of $62,696. As Darrell Sawyer, director of the Career and Professional Development Center, explains, “Mines Advantage reinforces strong placement rates and career success. It’s added value,” in an education that’s as rigorous as it is relevant.