Passport Program Adds To Students’ Skill Set

    May 8, 2019

    This article originally appeared in Kania Magazine, which you can read here.

    Embarking on a successful career in business requires more than just good grades and the requisite bachelor’s degree. Employers want recruits with strong communication and social skills — young people who know how to network, use social media responsibly and enhance their resumes with experience in their chosen field.

    With that in mind, the Kania School created the Passport Professional Development Program, which teaches so-called “soft skills” to our students throughout their four years at Scranton. Starting in freshman year, they must attend classes on topics such as writing a resume and researching internships.

    “The program prepares students to reach their career goals, enhance their professionalism and seamlessly transition them to the workplace,” said Tamara Bautista, Passport Program coordinator.

    Passport debuted in the fall of 2007, and eventually evolved into a tiered program with basic, intermediate and advanced modules.

    Last fall, Kania incorporated the basic module into a required one-credit class for freshmen, “Career and Professional Development.” Over four weeks, students create a resume, learn how to use LinkedIn and similar platforms, and practice interview skills like eye contact and answering questions.

    “This (course) is the foundation, the infrastructure for the Passport Program,” said Chris Whitney, director of the Gerard R. Roche Center for Career Development. “We’re saying (to freshmen), ‘This is your tool belt,’ and after the course, we offer them a buffet of options.”

    Students continue developing essential skills in the intermediate and advanced modules. Those consist of networking trips and events with alumni, employers and executives; career fairs; and additional workshops.

    “Professional development is an ongoing process that continues throughout one’s career, therefore engaging students early in the Passport Program teaches them the importance of expanding their knowledge and skills,” Bautista said.

    Participation in the Passport Program has improved each year. Of the 2018 graduating class, 92 percent of the students completed the program, and 40 percent of the class completed the advanced module.

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