Rice University’s Center for Career Development (CCD) helps students make their place in the world by educating them about self-knowledge, connecting them with opportunities and empowering them with the skills for lifelong career fulfillment.
To achieve lifelong career fulfillment, however, students often have to start small. When students begin their professional development journey, the CCD asks them to make a list of people who can support them in their future career development (the building blocks of their professional network).
Typically, this list starts off rather short, full of family, friends and connections at home. Although students are always encouraged to think outside the box and build a global network, many students neglect to include one of the most important communities that they are a part of — Houston.
Houston is the energy city, the hub for medical innovation, an emerging hot spot for corporate banking, that includes a thriving art scene. It is booming with diverse industries and opportunities, and these industries are very interested in Rice graduates.
However, since 70% of all jobs are gained through networking, Houston’s absence from students’ professional networks illustrated a gap between what Houston employers were looking for and who our students turned to for support.
Many Rice students could not truly engage with Houston until they could picture a future in the city. The CCD loves to see students pursue careers around the world, but, with 60% of the fall 2019 class identifying as out-of-state, some students may never gain a foothold in Houston that matches their career interests and, therefore, may never consider it a professional possibility.
In response, the CCD created Career Crawl, a program that offers students one-day visits to different companies or organizations around Houston with the goal of educating students on industries that don’t typically recruit on campus. The program also serves to help students grow their network through strategic connections.
Organizations interested in participating in Career Crawl must meet two stipulations: They must fit the theme of the event, and they must be based in Houston.
“The crawl helped me learn about the wider network and support system that I could use as a resource in my job search process,” said junior Sree Yeluri. “I feel a sense of kinship with the alumnus at the Federal Reserve who helped me decide to apply for an internship with them.”
Since Career Crawl started in 2017, students have visited more than 20 Houston organizations, including the Alley Theatre, the Houston Forensic Science Center, Johnson Space Center, EDP Renewables and The Ion.
The CCD appreciates all the hosts who create meaningful experiences for Rice students through the crawl. Through companies’ contributions, Rice students connect with the Houston community as students and as young professionals.
— Elsa Schieffelin
Assistant Director, Employer and Alumni Relations
Center for Career Development