Gold Path, which launched in fall 2019, is the result of local and national research linking cocurricular involvement with the development of skills employers seek from college graduates in the areas of leadership, work ethic, communication and teamwork.
Involvement is an integral part of the student experience at CMU. Research has shown the students who participate in extracurricular and cocurricular activities benefit from them. In 2017, the Enrollment and Student Services division created the Engagement and Employability Research Initiative work group to look at how on-campus involvement benefits students and builds employer-desired skills.
Researching student involvement and employability
In 2017, the EERI conducted innovative research of students, parents and employers about the impact cocurricular involvement has on employability. Survey results showed students believe GPA is the most important aspect of employability. Contrarily, employers placed greater value on the experiences/skills learned through campus involvement than grades.
Nearly 300 employers participated from areas such as education, automotive, health insurance, food service, financial management and many more. Employers ranked the following factors for employability, most to least important:
- Skills through experience in organizations and activities.
- Skills learned through specific coursework.
- Overall college grade point average.
- Involvement in student organizations and activities.
Employers will ask questions about involvement in the interview process. About 87% of employers indicated they are likely to ask candidates questions about the skills learned during demonstrated leadership in collegiate involvements, and 75% expect to ask about collegiate involvement.
Closing the perception gap of involvement and employability
Campus engagement is a vital and complementary component of the college experience and for acquiring a job after graduation. The EERI work group recommended a cocurricular program outlining milestones and markers for student engagement. At CMU, we provide extracurricular and cocurricular opportunities as well as guidance to graduating with well-rounded involvements through Gold Path.